Euro 2012: Ukraine 0 – 2 France

Two assists from Karim Benzema helped France beat hosts Ukraine in a weather affected game in Donetsk.

Jeremy Menez opened the scoring in the second half and a first international goal for Newcastle’s Johan Cabaye completed the scoring to give France their first victory in a major tournament for nine games.

But the game was suspended for 56 minutes during the first half after an electrical storm made it too dangerous for the players to stay out on the field.

The match was halted after less than five minutes as the electrical storm – which began shortly before kick-off – became too dangerous for play to continue with fork lightening striking very close to the stadium.

The torrential rain which accompanied the storm then became an issue but the ground staff managed to drain the water and, after nearly an hour, play resumed.

The game was slow to get going following the restart but when it did France had the better of it.

Jeremy Menez should have scored on the half hour mark when Franck Ribery took advantage of a sloppy Anatoliy Tymoschuk pass and found Menez alone at the back post, but his shot was comfortably saved by Andriy Pyatov.

Andriy Shevchenko did have a rare Ukraine chance after he latched onto a ball over the top but his effort was stopped by Hugo Lloris.

Pyatov was again called into action six minutes before the break when he did well to palm Philippe Mexes’ header round the post.

The game livened up after the restart with Ukraine the quicker out the blocks, and they went close to taking the lead when Shevchenko’s long range strike whistled past the angle.

But that was as good as it got for Ukraine as France took the lead four minutes later when a swift counter-attack ended with Benzema finding Menez who cut in from the right and drilled a low left footed shot into the bottom corner.

And three minutes later the game was effectively over when a good pass from Benzema found Cabaye who turned his defender and guided a strike into the far corner.

This victory was the first France have achieved at a European Championship without either Michelle Platini or Zinedine Zidane.

This was a match report for a Euro 2012 game written for the Sportsbyte website it can be seen live here.

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