Valbuena’s strike pushes France past Portugal in friendly
LISBON, Portugal —
France substitute Mathieu Valbuena scored from a late free kick to snatch a 1-0 win at Portugal in a friendly international on Friday.
The Lyon midfielder went on in the 80th and scored only four minutes later to extend France’s 40-year winning streak over Portugal to 10 straight victories.
France’s Anthony Martial added to his big week by playing his first international match as a second-half substitute – just days after he became the world’s most expensive teenage transfer in a deal worth $55 million to join Manchester United from Monaco.
The visitors lost Lyon forward Nabil Fekir to an injury in the 14th minute of the match at Jose Alvalade Stadium.
Portugal visits Albania on Monday in a European Championship qualifier. Portugal leads Group I with 12 points, while Albania and Denmark are level on 11 points after drawing 0-0 Friday in a Euro 2016 qualifier.
”They got lucky,” Portugal forward Nani said about France. ”We have to keep the same attitude and play good football in Albania because their result (tonight) is good for us.”
France, which automatically qualifies as host of next summer’s tournament, plays Serbia on Monday.
After Antoine Griezmann went on for Fekir, Portugal lost defender Ricardo Carvalho in the 27th when he cut his head following a clash with Patrice Evra. He was replaced by Jose Fonte.
France’s best chance before halftime came from Blaise Matuidi, who drew a save from goalkeeper Rui Patricio in the 31st.
Cristiano Ronaldo had Portugal’s only opportunity in the first half when he tested Hugo Lloris with a free kick three minutes before the break.
France made a promising start after the break, and Patricio had to deny Griezmann in the 49th and Karim Benzema moments later.
Ronaldo was one of a handful of substitutions made by both sides, leaving in the 67th to make way for Ricardo Quaresma.
The 19-year-old Martial came on in the 74th.
Griezmann helped set up Valbuena’s winner when he earned a free kick from a foul by Fonte.