West Ham’s Dimitri Payet scored a last-gasp wonder free-kick to help Euro 2016 hosts France snatch a dramatic 3-2 victory over Cameroon on Monday.
The attacking midfielder stepped up on the stroke of regulation time to curl a magnificent free-kick past Cameroon goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa.
France opened the scoring through Paris Saint-Germain’s Blaise Matuidi before Cameroon immediately drew level thanks to Porto striker Vincent Aboubakar.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud handed the home side the lead again just before half-time, Eric Choupo Moting equalising before Payet’s cherry on the cake.
“There are things we can improve but it was our first match after a long period without competition for some players,” said France coach Didier Deschamps.
“It’s the first game that Adil Rami and Laurent Koscielny have played together in a long time and we were up against a quality team.
“Cameroon played in a new system with power and speed in midfield and up front,” said Deschamps, adding: “I wasn’t expecting perfection, but the spirit is there.”
Cameroon coach Hugo Broos said: “For me the score is 2-2 because we were only beaten by a magnificent free kick by Dimitri Payet, a real talent.
“The players can be proud of their performance. I hope we keep this same spirit against Mauritania (African Cup of Nations qualifier).”
The first real chance of the game played at Nantes’ Beaujoire stadium came the way of Cameroon’s Karl Toko Ekambi.
Afforded far too much space, Toko Ekambi cut back in midfield from the left wing and stroked a shot to the right of the goal.
Hugo Lloris, captaining France for the 50th time, with only current coach Didier Deschamps having notched up more games with the skipper’s armband (54), just turned the shot around his post with a fine full-length save.
Aboubakar then went close with a powerful header that went just over the crossbar. It was left to Matuidi to open the scoring in the 21st minute, twisting to connect with Kingsley Coman’s cross and firing home a great first-time volley.