International Friendly
  • Mathieu Valbuena (85')

Mathieu Valbuena free kick gives France win over Portugal in friendly

Mathieu Valbuena's superb late free kick earned France a deserved friendly victory over Portugal on a night when new Manchester United striker Anthony Martial made his senior debut for Les Bleus.

Martial this week became football's most expensive teenager when United splashed out an initial £36 million to sign him from Monaco, and to cap an unforgettable few days for the 19-year-old he was handed his France bow as a second-half replacement for Karim Benzema.

He could not mark the occasion with a goal, but Euro 2016 hosts France still ran out 1-0 winners in Lisbon thanks to Valbuena's dead-ball brilliance

The Lyon playmaker sent a superb curling effort over the wall five minutes from time and, despite Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio getting finger tips to the shot, he could not keep it out.

France were full value for the win, even if it took them until the closing stages to make the breakthrough.

Didier Deschamps' men created the majority of the chances before half-time, with Blaise Matuidi being denied by Rui Patricio before the same player fired over from a superb Paul Pogba cross to the far post.

Moussa Sissoko also spurned a decent opportunity when instead of shooting he chose to try and find Benzema, who was being too closely guarded by his Real Madrid teammate Pepe.

Another Real star, Cristiano Ronaldo, had the last effort of the half, but the Portugal captain's long-range effort was well stopped by Hugo Lloris in the visiting goal.

France were back on the attack at the start of the second half with Antoine Griezmann, who had replaced the injured Nabil Fekir early on, drawing a parry out of Rui Patricio.

The Portugal keeper then needed to be alert to keep out a drive from Benzema as France continued to press for the opener.

Portugal, who are on course to qualify for the European Championships sitting top of Group I, looked to rally with an Antonio Eder effort that went over but France were back on the attack with Benzema and Raphael Varane testing Rui Patricio in quick succession.

Ronaldo was replaced by Ricardo Quaresma midway through the second half, but Portugal's threat did not go with him entirely as Eder and Nani tried their luck heading into the last 10 minutes.

By that point Martial had been thrown into the action, taking over from Benzema, but it would be his fellow replacement Valbuena who would earn the headlines.

A crunching challenge by Jose Fonte on Griezmann gave France a free-kick 25 yards out and Valbuena, despite only being on the pitch for five minutes, exacted the full punishment with a shot which Rui Patricio had no hope of keeping out.