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Real escape with hope of progress

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By ESPN Staff

Malouda bemoans dropped points

France winger Florent Malouda said his side were frustrated despite maintaining their four-point cushion in Euro 2012 qualifying with a 1-1 draw in Belarus.

Malouda scored an immediate equaliser after Eric Abidal's own goal had given Belarus the lead, but the hosts held on for a result which means they have now taken four points off Les Bleus and lie second in Group D.

Sergei Kislyak's late goal had given Belarus a 1-0 win in Paris in September and Malouda said: ''The feeling is of disappointment because we came here to make up for the points we lost at the Stade de France.

''We did not play well. We started the game badly and, even though we reacted well after that, the result was not what we were looking for when we came here. They were comfortable, they controlled the game and did not let us settle. It was better in the second half, we put our passes together better, but clearly it was not enough.''

Qualification for next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine does not look in any immediate danger despite the lacklustre showing, though, and Malouda urged Laurent Blanc's side to seal the deal at the earliest opportunity.

''We are happy that we are top of the group,'' he said. ''Since our defeat in the previous game (against Belarus) we have been on a good run, we have picked up points and put together wins.

''We cannot go to sleep, we must keep pushing for points to qualify as quickly as possible.''

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