For their first home game in the Champions League in over two decades, Lens were inevitably the centre of attention in French sport as they hosted Arsenal on Tuesday night.
Franck Haise’s men stepped up to the occasion by clinching a historic win over the Premier League runners-up, which has sent them top of Group B.
The Gunners’ return to the Stade Bollaert – 25 years after the two teams first met in the Champions League – was inevitably attended by some of Lens’ major figures from European campaigns past (Daniel Moreira, Eric Sikori, Guillaume Warmuz – the latter formerly of Arsenal as well). The fixture also attracted key players from the wider world of French football (Reims manager Will Still, for example) and beyond.
L’Équipe notably spoke to former French president François Hollande, on his way out from the VIP box. The ex-head of state was particularly impressed with the performance of new signing Elye Wahi, who was involved in both of the Sang et Or goals: “He was expensive to sign but he gave a lot, he really impressed!”
After a patently poor start to the campaign, Lens rediscovered the collective spark that saw them push PSG all the way last season – just in time to produce one of the club’s most famous results. While Haise has described the game as “one of the most memorable” of his reign so far, he and his team will not rest on their laurels – particularly as a derby clash against Lille awaits this weekend.