Updated: 16/06/2012 00:06 | By pa.press.net

France defeat hosts



Yohan Cabaye was on target as France beat Ukraine

Yohan Cabaye was on target as France beat Ukraine

A sharper second-half performance saw France cruise to a 2-0 victory over Ukraine and assume top spot in Euro 2012 Group D in a rain-delayed encounter in Donetsk.

Jeremy Menez and Yohan Cabaye, with his first international goal, finally put an end to the co-hosts' resistance after almost an hour of dominance but no breakthrough.

A torrential downpour just five minutes into the match forced referee Bjorn Kuipers to take the teams off the pitch, with crashes of thunder and flashes of lightning lighting up the sky above the Donbass Arena. Play resumed 55 minutes later but the delay did not seem to affect France who eased to victory.

Menez had the ball in the net as early as the 16th minute but had strayed offside to receive Franck Ribery's slide-rule pass.

Ribery found Menez once more when the Bayern Munich winger latched on to Anatoliy Tymoshchuk's backpass to cross but Andrei Pyatov blocked with his legs.

Ukraine's first effort produced the best save in the 34th minute when Andriy Shevchenko, two-goal hero of their opening win over Sweden, got behind centre-back Adil Rami to lash a half-volley into the near post, where Hugo Lloris blocked.

But it was a brief respite as Philippe Mexes' powerful header from Samir Nasri's free-kick was turned behind by Pyatov.

Menez's frustrating evening continued after the break when his clever diagonal right-to-left run produced another shooting opportunity, but he could not beat Pyatov from an increasingly narrowing angle.

But the persevering Menez finally found a way through in the 53rd minute, skipping past right-back Yevhen Selin to squeeze a left-footed shot inside the post.

Less than four minutes later Cabaye doubled the lead from Karim Benzema's pass into him at the top of the penalty area, before then being denied by a post from 18 yards after a prolonged passing move.

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