ST ETIENNE - Nigeria made their first match against France an occasion to remember when they beat the former world and European champions 1-0 in a friendly on Tuesday. The visitors struck on 32 minutes, Joseph Akpala following up after an effort by fellow striker Ikechukwu Uche had bounced off the post. France survived a fright before that when defender Sebastien Squillaci cleared an attempt by Uche, clearly the best player on the pitch, off the line with a header. The home side looked nervous at the back and short of ideas in a dull first half. They improved after the break thanks to a string of substitutions but not enough to escape an embarrassing defeat. A minute's silence was observed before kickoff and the players wore black armbands after an Air France flight carrying 228 passengers and crew crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. France's next game is another friendly, against Turkey on Friday in Lyon.
2 June 2009
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