France proved too strong for South Africa as the reigning world champions claimed a comfortable 5-0 win over Bafana Bafana in an international friendly match on Tuesday night.
Kylian Mbappe was in scintillating form on the night as the Paris Saint Germain superstar scored twice for Les Bleus, while Olivier Giroud, Wissem Ben Yedder and Matteo Guendouzi also netted for the hosts in a one-sided match that was played at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Villeneuve d'Ascq.
Coach Hugo Broos recalled his captain and first-choice goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to the starting line-up after he was rested against Guinea last week Friday. Bafana were hoping to secure their second consecutive win over France having defeated Le Bleus 2-1 in a 2010 Fifa World Cup Group A game in Bloemfontein.
Broos' counterpart, Didier Deschamps named N'Golo Kante and Mbappe in the starting line-up with the world-class duo having missed France's match against Ivory Coast on Friday. The two-time world champions were looking to make it seven consecutive wins across all competitions.
France fired the first warning through Giroud after the South Africa defence had failed to close down Lucas Digne on the hosts' left flank. Digne's pinpoint cross found Giroud whose effort was superbly tipped over the crossbar by a well-positioned Williams.
However, Williams was beaten in the 23rd minute and it took something special to beat the SuperSport United shot-stopper. Having received a pass from Antonie Griezmann, Mbappe was afforded space and time to unleash a curling shot which curled into the top left corner to make it 1-0 to France with Williams well-beaten.
Les Bleus were hungry for goals as they continued to push forward whenever they were in possession of the ball. Griezmann was involved once again when France took a 2-0 lead in the 33rd minute as the Atletico Madrid star set up Giroud, who hit the back of the net with a low shot with Williams rooted to the ground.
South Africa launched a few quick counterattacks, but Teboho Mokoena's through pass and Nyiko Mobbie's cross which were both meant for centre forward Lyle Foster were gathered with ease by keeper Mike Maignan and France were deservedly leading 2-0 at the half-time break.
It was a battle between Williams and France's two troublesome strikers Mbappe and Giroud in the opening exchanges of the second half. The 2019-20 PSL Goalkeeper of the Season pulled off two fine saves to deny reported Real Madrid target Mbappe and Williams also blocked two attempts from AC Milan marksman Giroud, who is now three goals away from matching Thierry Henry's record for most goals (51) scored for France.
With his side under pressure, Broos decided to make a change in the 62nd minute as he introduced Keagan Dolly, who was familiar with French champions Lille's home ground, Stade Pierre-Mauroy as he was on the books of Ligue side 1 side Montpellier between 2017 and 2021, before returning home to join Kaizer Chiefs.
However, the momentum was with Les Bleus in the closing proceedings with Mbappe constantly running at the visitors' defence and the hosts were awarded a penalty after he was fouled by Siyanda Xulu in the box. The 23-year-old dusted himself down and converted the spot-kick himself to make it 3-0 to France with 14 minutes left.
The hosts were running riot as substitutes Paul Pogba and Ben Yedder combined to extend France's lead to 4-0 in the 81st minute. Pogba's header was turned home by Ben Yedder from close range and things went from bad to worse for Bafana when they were reduced to 10 players when Khuliso Mudau was shown a straight red card after making a reckless challenge on Digne.
Le Bleus then took advantage of their numerical superiority over Bafana in stoppage time as Mbappe set up substitute Guendouzi, whose curling shot from the edge of the visitors' box nestled into Williams' bottom left corner to seal France's 5-0 emphatic win on the night.