Ngolo Kante’s goal sees France overtake Portugal and enter Nations League final


Ngolo Kante’s goal eight minutes into the second half secured a 1-0 for France away in Portugal and sent the world champions to the UEFA Nations League final and could also decide which of the two finishes at the top of their group.

The pair were tied with 10 points ahead of the clash at Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, but the Chelsea man’s strike gives the Blues a three-point cushion ahead of their final home game against Sweden.

Coach Didier Deschamps opted to do without Olivier Giroud in attack and preferred Anthony Martial instead and was almost rewarded when the Manchester United man hit the crossbar with a header after Kingsley Coman, Martial and Adrien Rabiot all had chances.

Portugal had limited chances in the first 45, creating seven shots, but came close to Danilo Pereira after beating Rabiot in the air, but the hosts were grateful to goalkeeper Rui Patricio for a series of excellent saves – especially to refuse Martial twice – – while they continued to fight against their phantom side.

Despite a brilliant second-half opener, the Portuguese fell behind on Kante’s crucial strike after Patricio was only able to parry Rabiot’s effort after a brace with Antoine Griezmann on the way to the pressed midfielder .

Portugal responded and came close to Jose Fonte – who plies his trade in France with Lille OSC – but his late header hit the post.

At the other end, Patricio continued to frustrate Martial and denied the former Monaco and Lyon man after Lucas Hernandez removed him after Griezmann created the opening.

France captain Hugo Lloris has played an important role over time denying Joao Moutinho’s excellent effort with an even better save and Presnel Kimpembe also made sure Cristiano Ronaldo was not entitled to a head to goal effort.

Lively substitute Trincao may have had a late penalty, but refused to come down after a possible obstruction and the odds were passed.

He finished 1-0 against France and Deschamps’ men now have the chance to be the first team to win the World Cup, Euro, Confederations Cup and Nations League.


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