MX23RW : Tuesday, July 27 12:53:52| >> :600:611007:611007:
Oct 7, 2017 at 7.45pm UK
Bulgaria
0-1
France
FT(HT: 0-1)
Matuidi (3')

Result: France return to top of Group A

Result: France return to top of Group A
© Offside
France return to the top of their 2018 World Cup qualification group courtesy of a 1-0 win over Bulgaria on Saturday night.

France have returned to the top of their 2018 World Cup qualification group courtesy of a 1-0 win over Bulgaria on Saturday night.

Didier Deschamps's side entered the Group A clash two points behind leaders Sweden, but Les Bleus have now returned to the summit with just one match to play courtesy of a narrow victory in Sofia.

France took the lead inside the opening three minutes, with Blaise Matuidi finding the top corner from an acute angle after Antoine Griezmann's deft touch set up a shooting chance for the Juventus midfielder.

Bulgaria looked to hit back moments later when the ball fell for Todor Nedelev in an advanced area, but the midfielder's effort was always moving wide of the post.

Kylian Mbappe was next to come close for the visitors after breaking into the Bulgaria box, but the 18-year-old could not find a route past Plamen Iliev, who was on hand to make a smart save.

Corentin Tolisso then sent one wide from distance in the 20th minute, before Griezmann curled the ball just past the far post six minutes later after being afforded all sorts of room inside the Bulgarian box.

Lacazette should have doubled France's lead just before the 30-minute mark after being found inside the box by Mbappe, but the Arsenal forward was denied by a brilliant challenge from Vasil Bozhikov.

France lost N'Golo Kante to a hamstring problem in the latter stages of the first period as Adrien Rabiot entered the field, and Bulgaria should have been level in the 36th minute when Hugo Lloris made a meal of a strike from Simeon Slavchev, but the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper somehow kept out a close-range header from Georgi Kostadinov.

Mbappe had the final chance of the first period after meeting a deflected free kick from Griezmann, but the Paris Saint-Germain attacker missed at the near post once again.

Spas Delev had the first half-chance of the second period after finding space outside the France box, but the striker curled his effort wide of the far post.

There was a distinct lack of quality in the 15-minute spell that followed, with both teams struggling to keep the ball.

The referee had to step in on a number of occasions to stop tensions boiling over, but chances were few and far between as the key Group A clash headed for its final 10 minutes at 1-0 France.

Dimitri Payet and Olivier Giroud came off the France bench in the latter stages, and the added experience came in handy as Deschamps's side held strong in the final moments to record a huge three points in Sofia.

France will host Belarus on Tuesday knowing that a win would secure their spot at the 2018 World Cup. Bulgaria, meanwhile, will round off their qualification campaign with a trip to Luxembourg on the same night.

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N'Golo Kante in action during the Champions League game between Chelsea and Qarabag on September 12, 2017
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Tuesday's key events


TRIATHLON
· Team GB trio Vicky Holland, Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jess Learmonth all have realistic medal hopes in the women's event (10.30pm-1am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After an impressive opening day, Great Britain play their final group game against a Fiji side level with them at the top of the pool, but also yet to hit their brilliant best (1.30am)

TAEKWONDO
· After disappointment for friend and housemate Jade Jones, Bianca Walkden will go for gold in the women's +67kg category (2am-2.30pm)
· Mahama Cho is another medal contender for Team GB in the men's +80kg class (2am-2.30pm)

SWIMMING
· Team GB's Duncan Scott has the chance to claim his first individual Olympic medal in the men's 200m freestyle final. Teammate Tom Dean is also involved. (2.43am)
· Kathleen Dawson is the Team GB representative in the women's 100m backstroke final (2.51am)

DIVING
· Eden Cheng and Lois Toulson will look to emulate Tom Daley and Matty Lee's success in the women's 10m synchro final (7am-8am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three-time Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin is part of a Team GB team going for gold in the dressage team Grand Prix final (9.30am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Superstar Simone Biles leads the United States side in the women's team final (11.45am-2.10pm)

FOOTBALL
· Team GB's women's team play their final group game, taking on Canada with qualification for the knockout rounds already secured (12pm)

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