Folarin Balogun scored the only goal of the game for Reims as they boosted their hopes of a European place with a win over Monaco. Elsewhere, Timothy Weah went the distance for Lille as they played a thrilling encounter against Lyon.
Monaco 0-1 Reims
Folarin Balogun returned to his goal scoring ways as he put away what was the winner for Reims in their victory over Monaco at the Stade Louis II.
The Arsenal loanee started and played 87 minutes, completing 80 percent of his passes, winning four duels, and taking four shots as the win Red and Whites remain in contention to capture a European spot.
Balogun had a chance to register an assist on a goal when he set up his teammate Dion Lopy, but the Senegalese midfielder’s deflected shot was easily grabbed by Monaco goalkeeper Alexander Nubel. The hosts then had a chance later when Reims turned over the ball and Wissam Ben Yedder nearly made them pay when he chipped it over goalkeeper Yehvann Diouf,. who was fortunate that the ball hit the post.
The American-born forward then had a chance to break the scoreless deadlock, but Nubel did well to come off his line and eliminate the threat.
Monaco started the second half on the attack and once again came close to scoring, but Brazilian midfielder Vanderson’s shot was denied by the post.
Balogun had not scored in the past three games, but ended his mini drought in remarkable fashion with his strike in the 51st minute. Alexis Flips supplied the 21-year-old with a through-ball from midfield and he did the rest as his powerful shot was too much for Nubel to handle.
There was a chance for him to add a second later on, but Nubel was able to make the save.
Reims’ third win in a row sees them sit in eighth place in the standings with 43 points, four points behind fifth place Rennes and a spot in the UEFA Conference League.
Lille 3-3 Lyon
Lille was in command, but Lyon clawed back to score two late goals to secure a point at Stade Pierre Mauroy keep themselves in contention for a European place.
Timothy Weah started and went the distance for the Mastiffs, completing 84 percent of his passes, winning six duels, and making two tackles.
The fireworks in this game would take place in the second half. Weah’s Canadian teammate Jonathan David broke the scoreless deadlock just seconds into the interval when he was able to get his foot on a low cross from Jonathan Bamba and poke it past Lyon goalkeeper Remy Riou.
The visitors put themselves in a bigger hole at the hour mark when the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty as it was judged that Rayan Cherki push on Gabriel Gudmundsson was enough to warrant the call. David then stepped up to convert the spot-kick.
Lyon pulled one back three minutes later through Bradley Barcola when a wayward clearance from the Lille backline saw the ball fall at his feet and he punished the hosts with a half volley attempt that hit the back of the net.
Lille restored their two-goal lead in the 79th minute with the visitors once again gave away a silly penalty. Alexander Lacazette was the guilty party this time as the video assistant referee confirmd that the ball came off his arm in the 12-yard box from a free-kick. David then completed his hat-trick with another strike from the spot.
However, the game was not done as Lyon provided some dramatics in the final minutes and Lacazette would be the man that redeemed himself. The former Arsenal forward scored his first in the 83rd minute when he got his head on Sael Kumbedi’s cross. He then ensured they would leave Stade Pierre Mauroy with a point when burried the ball in the upper corner after a pss from Barcola in the 89th minute.
Lille remains in sixth place in the standings with 46 points.
Erik Palmer-Brown played the full 90 minutes for struggling Troyes as they put themselves deeper into a relegation battle with a 2-0 defeat to Lorient.