Football: France struggle to see off humble Andorra

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The Independent Online
FRANCE, THE world champions, wasted a string of chances as they beat Andorra 2-0 in a European Championship qualifier in the Stade de France last night. The narrow margin of the defeat for a team ranked No 171 in the world will surely be seen as a moral victory in Andorra.

Vincent Candela finally broke through the massed Andorran defence in the 53rd minute to score with a low shot under the goalkeeper, Jesus Alvarez. Youri Djorkaeff added the second eight minutes later when he tapped the ball in after Alvarez had blocked a drive from Tony Vairelles. The French goalkeeper, Bernard Lama, only touched the ball twice in play during the 90 minutes.

There were unexpected celebrations for another of Europe's lesser lights, though. Liechtenstein gained their first competitive victory with a 2- 1 win over Azerbaijan in the new Rheinpark in Vaduz.

Mario Frick and Martin Telser scored two in two minutes at the start of the second half, and Liechtenstein hung on after Kurban Kurbanov had pulled one back for Azerbaijan thanks to a brave display from Peter Jehle, their 16-year-old debutant goalkeeper.

In Chisinau, Germany went behind to Moldova when Alexandru Guzun scored in the sixth minute, but they recovered to win 3-1 with two goals from Ulf Kirsten and another from Oliver Bierhoff. Turkey, who beat the Germans on Saturday, came down to earth with a 3-1 home loss to Finland.

Norway needed a late equaliser from Manchester United's Henning Berg to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to Albania. In England's group, Sweden won 1-0 in Bulgaria thanks to a goal from Celtic's Henrik Larsson.