Dimitri Payet’s scorcher rescued a 2-1 win for France after Patrice Evra handed Romania a penalty in the Euro 2016 opener.
The opening game of the tournament saw the hosts take on a Romania side that conceded only two goals in qualifying, the best defensive record, also thanks to Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and Napoli defender Vlad Chiriches. Juventus duo Paul Pogba and Patrice Evra started for France.
Romania got off to a stunning start, almost scoring twice in the opening four minutes, as first Hugo Lloris parried from point-blank range on Nicolae Stancu, then Florin Andone’s header hit the roof of the net.
Les Bleus fought back, Antoine Griezmann nodding on to the upright and the Atletico Madrid man also drilled just wide from a Payet assist.
Olivier Giroud’s header skimmed the bar on the stroke of half-time, but once again Romania started better after the restart and Stancu’s chest and volley whistled off target from 10 yards.
Tatarusanu denied Giroud and a fierce Pogba volley, but was eventually beaten by Giroud’s header from a Payet cross, even if he complained that he had been fouled.
Evra clumsily tripped Stanciu in the box for a penalty, which Bogdan Stancu converted to draw Romania level at the Stade de France.
The hosts looked to be heading for a draw, but in the final minute Payet consolidated his Man of the Match status with a screamer into the far top corner. He was moved to tears when substituted moments later, being the first player to score and assist in a Euros opener since Frantisek Vesely in 1976.
France 2-1 Romania
Giroud 57 (F), Stancu pen 65 (R), Payet 89 (F)
France: Lloris; Sagna, Rami, Koscielny, Evra; Pogba (Martial 77), Kanté, Matuidi; Griezmann (Coman 66), Giroud, Payet (Sissoko 92)
Romania: Tatarusanu; Sapunaru, Chiriches, Grigore, Rat; Stanciu (Chipciu 72), Hoban, Pintilii; Popa (Torje 82), Andone (Alibec 61), Stancu
Ref: Kassai (HUN)
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