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Benjamin Pavard: Mike Maignan saved us

Updated on: 29 March,2023 07:40 AM IST  |  Paris

France’s Pavard hails goalkeeper Maignan’s brilliance as former world champions struggle in 1-0 win over Ireland

Benjamin Pavard: Mike Maignan saved us

France goalkeeper Mike Maignan saves the header from Nathan Collins of Republic of Ireland. Pics/Getty Images

France held on to beat Ireland 1-0 in Dublin on Monday to win their second Euro 2024 qualifier, while the Netherlands eased past Gibraltar 3-0. Right-back Benjamin Pavard pounced with half an hour remaining at a sold-out Lansdowne Road before two superb Mike Maignan saves in the final two minutes.

With 30 seconds to play in Dublin, AC Milan’s Maignan, who has succeeded former captain Hugo Lloris as Les Bleus’ goalkeeper, tipped over teammate Jules Kounde’s panicked header. 

Benjamin Pavard Benjamin Pavard 

From the resulting corner Maignan saved the visitors’ skin as he made a similar save from Nathan Collins’ powerful effort. “Mike’s stop allowed us to stay in the match and claim a clean sheet, so I’m going to say that he’s the man of the match,” Bayern Munich’s Pavard told television channel TF1.  “I had the chance to play, it was succesful, I scored, even if a defender’s main objective is to defend well,” he added. 

Ake nets twice

In Rotterdam, Manchester City centre-back Nathan Ake scored twice in a little over half an hour as the Netherlands overcame 10-men Gibraltar, 200th in the FIFA rankings. Atletico Madrid forward Memphis Depay opened the scoring in the first half with a towering header before veteran Liam Walker was shown a red card the other side of the break.

Also read: Bayern Munich set to sack Nagelsmann; Tuchel to step in

Oranje captain Virgil van Dijk bemoaned a lack of goals at De Kuip from his team, who lost heavily to France in their Group B opener on Friday. “You score three goals, but you have to score many more,” van Dijk said. “This is a game where you can hardly ever get it right. You have to win 10-0, so to speak,” he added. 

Sweden bounce back

In Group F, Sweden bounced back from a heavy opening defeat to Belgium by hammering Azerbaijan 5-0 in Solna. Emile Forsberg, Viktor Gyokeres, Jesper Karlsson and Anthony Elanga netted for the hosts and Bahlul Mustafazade scored an own goal. 

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