France off to a flier
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France have cruised to a 3-1 win over Ghana in their FIFA U-20 World Cup opener at the Ali Sami Yen Arena in Istanbul.

It was an impressive performance from Les Bleuets, who dominated throughout but only received the goals their superiority merited in the second half.

There must have been a worry in the France dressing room that they would pay for the chances missed in the first half, for there were plenty of them. Jean-Christope Bahebeck spurned arguably the best of the bunch, shooting straight at goalkeeper Eric Antwi after bursting through following a neat one-two with Yaya Sanogo.

Ghana, who - like their opponents - had plenty of quick and powerful attacking options, were a constant danger on the break throughout the first half. However, the Black Satellites found themselves outclassed after the restart as Pierre Mancowksi’s Bleuets added ruthlessness to the attributes that had been on show before the break.

Yet despite all the intricate build-up play the match had witnessed, it was a direct, route-one approach that yielded the opening goal. Lucas Digne claimed the assist with a long throw-in from the left and Geoffrey Kondogbia found himself completely unmarked to head home the simplest of efforts from eight yards.

Just three minutes later, Kondogbia went from scorer to creator, slipping through a clever pass for Sanogo, who was calmness personified in firing a lot shot beyond the helpless Antwi. Any remaining doubt over the outcome was then removed with 11 minutes remaining when Bahebeck raced clean through and directed a precise left-foot shot low into the far corner of the net.

Ghana did grab a consolation with five minutes remaining when substitutes Abdul Rahman Baba and Yiadom Boakye combined for the latter to score from close range, but the 2009 champions now have their work cut out if they are to survive a section in which Spain and USA play later.