Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Brittany topple Mali to claim fine FIFA scalp

Brittany produced a tempered performance to defeat Mali, currently ranked 3rd in Africa by FIFA, 1-0 in a rain-drenched Stade du Moulin-Boisseau in Carquefou last night. A number of the Mali players got lost en-route to the match but after a slightly delayed kick-off a cagey and close encounter was settled by a 71st minute strike from Yann Kermorgant, who plays his in England with Championship side Charlton Athletic. 

Pre-match...Claude Le Roy applauds the anthems
France call-ups for Yoann Gorcuff and Mickaël Landreau meant they sat the game out but after French reality television star Laura Chab’ kicked-off the match a strong Brittany side made a quick start, Gaël Danic testing Soumbeïla Diakité inside 5 minutes. Both teams tried to enforce their style in the soaking conditions and Mali hero Seydou Keita shot fizzed wide in the 26th minute.

Brittany looked strong from set-pieces and with 10 minutes before the interval a corner from the right-side saw Lorient defender Arnaud Le Lan head inches wide of Diakité’s post. Mali enjoyed some possession in the hosts half but the score was goalless at half-time.
Scalp...Mali are ranked 26th in the world

Brittany made 6 substitutions at the break and they came out the livelier side once more, Gaëtan Courtet of Reims scooping the ball wide from close-range. Courtet’s strike partner Yohann Rivière was brought off in the 62nd minute and it took less than 10 minutes for his replacement Yann Kermorgant to make a big impact. 

Kermorgant had a fine season with English 2nd-tier club Charlton Athletic as he finished joint top-scorer with 12 goals and his form continued in Carqefou as his long-range effort flew past Diakité to send the crowd, and their bagpipes, into raptures. 

Celebrations...the Brittany changing room post-match
Mali pressed and threatened to equalise on a couple of occasions. Samba Sow of Lens nearly matched Kermorgant’s super-sub role in the 82nd minute but Jean-Marc Le Rouzic, on at half-time, made the save. Brittany managed to hold on fairly comfortably and claim a notable win, arguably their best result of all-time.

Despite initially being rumoured to participate in the Tournoi des Cultures in Marseille in June the BFA have said this won’t happen. It’s likely the Brittany national team showpiece will become an annual event, and if their Les Bleus stars are able to play in 2014 then greater scalps could be on the horizon. 

Match information

Score: Brittany 1 -0 Mali

Goals: Yann Kermorgant 71'

Brittany XI: Caradec [Le Rouzic 45’]; Billy [Quintin 45’], Le Marchand [Flégeau 45’], Talmont [Thomas 45’], Le Lan [Poletti 45’]; Moullec [Montaroup 45'], Sammaritano, Danic, Didot [Biger 62’]; Courtet, Rivière [Kermorgant 62'].

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