PARIS, September 10 (World Cup Qualifying) - Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka grabbed second-half goals for France as they downed Serbia in a World Cup qualifier in Paris to give under-pressure coach Raymond Domenech a stay of execution.
A victory was essential if Domenech, jeered every time his face came up on the big screen at a three-quarters-full Stade de France, was to keep his job.
And his players, who had so underperformed in their 3-1 defeat to Austria on Saturday in their opening Group Seven qualifier, delivered the goods.
France's goals came at the start of the second half, Henry breaking the deadlock with a controlled finish in the 54th minute and substitute Anelka driving home a second just after the hour.
Les Bleus endured a few nervy moments late on after Branislav Ivanovic halved the deficit in the 75th minute but they hung on.
Domenech should live to fight another day, although he will need another victory against Romania in October to keep the wolves from the door.
As expected, Domenech made changes after the Austria debacle. Centre-half Philippe Mexes, at fault for two goals in Vienna, was dropped for Eric Abidal while Yoann Gourcuff and Gael Clichy - making his debut for France - came in for Patrice Evra and Samir Nasri.
The Serbs, 2-0 winners against the Faroe Islands in their opening qualifier, had to do without captain Dejan Stankovic for almost the entire match.
The Internazionale midfielder was forced off after three minutes after jarring his knee trying to tackle Thierry Henry 45 seconds in.
But with Nemanja Vidic taking the armband, they settled quickly and caused Abidal and Clichy early problems down the right.
Les Bleus, however, created the better chances in the first half.
Lassana Diarra and Karim Benzema had early efforts easily saved, and Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic acrobatically tipped over an Henry header.
With Gourcuff, making his starting debut and looking every inch the playmaker France have needed since the retirement of Zinedine Zidane, pulling the strings in the hole and Clichy making some buccaneering raids from full-back, the French looked menacing.
But at the other end, their defensive frailties of recent games were again apparent, goalkeeper Steve Mandanda bravely coming out at the feet of Marko Pantelic and Vidic powering a header just over when free at a corner.
Stojkovic went down to save a Gourcuff drive in the 42nd minute but it had been a promising half from the home side, who got the goal they deserved nine minutes into the second period.
Sidney Govou escaped two defenders and fed Henry, who poked home a low finish from 10 yards despite being off balance.
Domenech clenched his fists in celebration before quickly urging his defence to be wary of conceding a quick equaliser.
That was unlikely to happen, even with Serbia throwing on Nikola Zigic straight after Henry's goal, and within 10 minutes the French were further ahead.
This time Gourcuff was the instigator as he put through Anelka, who fought off the attentions of Vidic before slamming a low, 20-yard shot past a static Stojkovic.
Henry had a shot deflected over and Gourcuff crashed a left-foot effort against the bar as France threatened a third, but the hosts were stunned when defender Ivanovic headed home a Bosko Jankovic corner.
Serbia could not find an equaliser though, much to Domenech's relief.