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September 24, 2017

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Benzema, computer ref give France crucial win

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil -- Karim Benzema scored twice as France beat 10-man Honduras 3-0 in a bruising World Cup clash Sunday in which goal-line technology decided a goal in international competition for the first time.

The 26-year-old Real Madrid striker produced an emphatic display in a victory marked by the use of the computer-generated 3D images to decide whether the ball had crossed the line.

Three minutes into the second period, the GoalControl system was called into action when a Benzema volley hurtled off a post.

The ball flew across the face of the goal, hitting Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares and crossing the line before he could scoop it away to safety. Brazilian referee Sandro Ricci saw a "GOAL" message flash up on his watch and ruled it was an own goal by Valladares.

"I shot and the ball hit the post and then the goalkeeper," said Benzema.

"I saw that the ball crossed the line. I don't know if having technology like this is good for football but the most important thing was that we have won."

France boss Didier Deschamps expressed concern at the confusion in the stadium when replays on the giant screen first showed Benzema's initial shot had not gone in before confirming the ball had crossed the line after hitting Valladares' hand.

Deschamps said GoalControl was a "good solution" but "the image shown must be the one that justifies the decision of the referee."

Benzema opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Wilson Palacios was sent off for two yellow cards both involving tussles with France's Paul Pogba.

And the Real Madrid striker rounded off a fine afternoon with a narrow angle shot 18 minutes from time.

The victory kept France above Switzerland on goal difference in Group E after the Swiss beat Ecuador 2-1 earlier. The two European sides are set to meet next on Friday in Salvador.

Honduras coach Luis Suarez argued with Deschamps over the ruling for a while. "The first decision of the machine was no goal, the second decision was a goal. You just didn't know what was going on, what was the truth," he said.

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