In order to give a breather to Stade Pierre-Mauroy’s pitch between two Rugby Union World Cup games, Lille OSC hosted Stade de Reims this Tuesday night. Paulo Fonseca’s side had the opportunity to go level with Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco in the event of a home win. But Reims manager Will Still had other plans.
The Champagne side ran riot in the opening stages, proving ruthless to punish the hosts’ early mistakes. Danish centre-forward Mohamed Daramy volleyed in the opener after a goalmouth scramble following a corner. The hosts were appealing for a foul on Samuel Umtiti but fourth referee Ali Djedid, who replaced the injured Eric Wattelier, was not interested. Still’s Reims then took a leaf from Pep Guardiola’s book with a remarkable sequence of intricate passing and movement ended with Keito Nakamura showing great composure to find the back of Lucas Chevalier’s net. Reims were 2-0 up after only 16 minutes.
Les Dogues enjoyed the majority of the possession and dominated most of the game, but they struggled to break down a tightly-knit and perfectly organised Reims side. The introductions of Edon Zhegrova and former Fulham man Ivan Cavaleiro brought renewed energy to the hosts whilst Reims were showing passiveness and tired legs.
Skipper Benjamin André led the charge ten minutes from time in halving the deficit with a powerful header, but Reims eventually held on to three vital points. Still’s plan to overload the central area of the pitch proved another tactical masterclass against Fonseca’s control-based Lille. The visitors climb to fifth place in the Ligue 1 standings. Lille remain in mid-table and lose for the first time at home in 23 games, a league run which stretches all the way back to August 2022.
Lille players ratings
Lucas Chevalier, 5
Tiago Santos, 4
Samuel Umtiti, 4 – The 2018 World Cup winner had to be replaced at half-time after sustaining a suspected concussion following a frightening clash of heads with Junya Ito. Looked jittery in the first half.
Lenny Yoro, 4
Hakon Haraldsson, 3 – The Icelandic international was expected to be one of Ligue 1’s players to watch after lighting up Lille’s pre-season with five goals. So far, it’s not working well at all. He wasted the few balls he was given and his influence was minimal.
Benjamin André, 6
Rémy Cabella, 4
Yusuf Yazici, N/A – The Turkish winger had a horrible game. He injured himself early on and carried on only to needlessly concede the corner kick leading to Reims’ opener. He was then dribbled past by Keito Nakamura for the visitors’ second. Called it a night and was replaced by Edon Zhegrova after 23 minutes of play.
Angel Gomes, 4
Jonathan David, 3 – The Canadian centre-forward was nowhere to be seen. He is badly struggling to replicate his scintillating form of last season. He even got dribbled past by Reims goalie Yehvann Diouf.
Reims players ratings
Yehvann Diouf, 5
Thomas Foket, 5
Joseph Okumu, 7
Yunis Abdelhamid, 6
Thibault De Smet, 6
Marshall Munetsi, 7 – The tireless Zimbabwean defensive midfielder produced another inspired performance and got a hand on Reims’ two goals. He also could have scored too but Chevalier deflected his powerful effort. One of Ligue 1’s finest unsung midfielders.
Teddy Teuma, 6
Keito Nakamura, 7 – Last summer, Reims hijacked Lille’s move for the former LASK Japanese winger. The latter made the hosts pay by adding Reims’ second goal with great composure. He looks like another shrewd signing for the Champagne side.
Azor Matusiwa, 6
Junya Ito, 6
Mohamed Daramy, 6