RC Lens drop to second after home loss to fellow top spot contender
RC Lens dominated the French Ligue 2 top of the table clash, against Brest, but their efforts came to nothing as they were finished off late in the match by a former Lensois player.
Lens and Brest sat joint top of the French second division on 52 points, from 30 matches, going into their crucial clash. But Hafez’s team went into the match as favorites not only because of playing at home. Lens was on a four match winning run.
Cristian Lopez almost gave RC Lens an early lead but his effort, in the eight minute, came of the bar. Moments later, his striking partner, Habibou had a go at the Brest goalkeeper but his attempt did not trouble Hartock. The home team’s good start had Brest on the back foot and they had to wait until the 17th minute for their first chance.
From that moment they began gaining ground in the match. In the 32nd minute, Karim Hafez got a yellow card for bringing down Maupay and conceded a freekick. Stade Brest opened the scoring from the resultant freekick, thanks to Battochio. The Italian had also been behind their first chance of the match.
The home team took charge of the match again but could not draw level going into halftime. Lens had come close in the 40th minute when, Brest captain, Bruno Grougi cleared a goal bound effort off the line.
RC Lens started the second half by making two changes, one of which was a forced substitution. Hafez’s defensive partner, Cvetinovic had to come off due to an injury. His place was taken by Forunè. Nevertheless, they continued their dominance from the first half against a Brest team that was content to defend their lead.
The tempo reduced drastically as Lens struggled to breach their opponent’s defense. The coach, Casanova had to call upon a CAF Champions League finalist in Kermit Erasmus, in the 69th minute. This change did little to turn the match in favor of lens. It was Brest who were creating more danger through poorly coordinated counterattacks.
One of these counterattack finally bore fruit deep into injury time. Former Lens player, Joseph-Monrose was on hand to finish an assist by Lavigne, in the 94th minute, to assure Stade Brest of a massive win away from home.
The result sees Brest pull three points ahead of RC Lens in the close race to win the French Ligue 2. Both teams remain in the automatic promotion spots but with Troyes, Reims and Strasbourg close behind.
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