Les Bleuets have resources. Twice coached by a Belgian team in good form, France’s Under-23 team managed to draw in a friendly (2-2) at Valenciennes on Monday. In a fairly balanced first half, the French got into trouble due to technical or positioning errors.
After having alerted Yahia Fofana (33rd) for the first time, Largie Ramazani ended up finding the opening in the 41st minute. After a French corner, the Belgians quickly projected against and Jérémy Doku, very outstanding on his left wing, was able to find his partner at the far post who only had to finish.
Cherky changed everything.
Entering the game at half-time in place of Arnaud Kalimuendo, Rayan Cherki quickly stood out. Having put Senne Lammens to work for the first time (50th), the Lyonnais took charge of the ensuing corner to find Tanguy Kouassi, goalscorer for their first selection for Espoirs (51st), head on.
However, the rally was short-lived as Yari Verschaeren put Belgium ahead a few minutes later (58′). But after Kouassi, Ryan Cherki wanted to shine another of his teammates. With a deft ladle, he allowed Elye Wahi to also score his first goal for Espoirs after eliminating the Belgian goalkeeper (77th).
A twisted ending to the game
Due to multiple changes, the last ten minutes saw the two teams go blow for blow. The French initially believed that Ignace Van der Brempt was going to give Belgium the lead back, but the shot from the side eventually ended his run off the crossbar for Fofana (83rd).
In the same minute, Nathan N’Goumou headed in a magnificent cross from Quentin Merlin, but his goal was disallowed for Elye Wahi’s positional offside in this action. After one last big chance from both sides as extra time approached, the two teams parted ways in a fairly logical draw.