PLAYER RATINGS | Clermont 0-3 Lens: Les Sang et Or win in heated affair ahead of Arsenal clash

Ligue 1, Round 13, 25/11/23

RC Lens extended their Ligue 1 unbeaten run to eight games to consolidate their sixth place in the table after a comfortable 3-0 win over Clermont Foot. 

Lens began the match without some key figures. Kevin Danso was rested as a precaution with the Austrian international suffering from a minor niggle, whilst Florian Sotoca, Nampalys Mendy and Andy Diouf were all also absent from the starting lineup ahead of a midweek clash against Arsenal.

Despite some key absentees, Les Sang et Or nonetheless quickly established their dominance and worked Mory Diaw into two early saves. Elye Wahi then beat the Senegalese international with a clever looped header. One behind, Clermont Foot began to grow into the game and it was Brice Samba’s turn to make a crucial save, denying Grejohn Kyei from close range. 

From almost equalising, Clermont almost found themselves two down minutes later and would have been if not for a brilliant Diaw save from a close-range Wahi header. The France U21 international would not get another chance to double his account as he would be sent off before the end of the half after getting two yellows in quick succession – the first for blocking a free-kick and then a second for an altercation with Alidu Seidu. The latter was also sent off, as was manager Pascal Gastien as tensions sparked just before the half-time whistle. 

Kyei wasteful for Clermont

Diaw had been crucial in keeping the scoreline down in the first half, but he made the error early in the second half that allowed Franck Haise’s side to make the break. Intercepting a ball over the top, he tried to find his centre-back with a horizontal pass, but it was well read by Adrien Thomasson, who intercepted with a first-time finish from midway inside Clermont’s half.

Clermont had chances to halve the deficit. Two golden opportunities fell to Kyei, however, he couldn’t find the target on any occasion, even from just five yards out with the open goal to aim at. The Clermont forward perhaps hadn’t anticipated Samba allowing the simple cross going straight through him. 

Whilst Clermont lacked the finishing touch, the same could not be said of Lens, who were clinical, particularly in the second half. Wesley Saïd didn’t need long to get on the scoresheet. He turned Florent Ogier inside out, feigning to shoot twice before placing the ball past Diaw. 

Lens therefore strolled to victory and consolidated their sixth place, whilst Clermont Foot remain in the relegation zone. 

Lens player ratings
Brice Samba – 6 
Facundo Medina – 6

Culpable of being caught out of position for Kyei’s chance midway through the first half and was found wanting in a few early duels, but he grew into the game well and was composed in key moments and rediscovered his 

Abdukodir Khusanov – 5
Jonathan Gradit – 5
Przemyslaw Frankowski – 4
Salis Abdul Samed – 5
Neil El Aynaoui – 6
Ruben Aguilar – 6
Adrien Thomasson – 6 

Quiet for large periods but was switched on enough to intercept Diaw’s clumsy pass and stroke the ball into an empty net in what was the match-defining moment, which ended Clermont’s hopes of a comeback.

Elye Wahi – 4

A mixed night to say the least. Wahi was dangerous in the early stages and deservedly got his goal with a clever looped header over Diaw. He then almost got his second and would have done so if not for a brilliant reflex save from Diaw. However, he lost his head towards the end of the first half, getting a needless yellow for blocking a free-kick and then a second yellow just one minute later after getting involved in an altercation with Seidu. 

Angelo Fulgini – 4

Replaced by Morgan Guilavogui (5) at half-time, who himself withdrew through injury late in the second half.

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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