Defensive beacon Joseph Okumu anchors Reims to victory over Lille

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STARS ABROAD: Defensive beacon Joseph Okumu anchors Reims to victory over Lille

Festus Chuma 10:00 - 27.09.2023

Okumu's stellar defense aids Stade de Reims' 2-1 win over Lille. Early goals by Daramy and Nakamura secure victory.

On a dramatic Tuesday evening, Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu exhibited a standout performance for his club, Stade de Reims, contributing significantly to a 2-1 triumph against Lille. 

The Kenyan international played the entire 90 minutes, demonstrating formidable defensive skills, as Reims leaped ahead of their adversaries in the Ligue 1 standings.

Zimbabwe’s own talent, midfielder Munetsi, was instrumental in facilitating Reims' lead. Just 12 minutes into the game, he adeptly assisted Dane Mohammed Daramy in securing the opening goal. 

The momentum continued as, merely four minutes later, Munetsi played a pivotal role once more, aiding Japan's Keito Nakamura in notching his first Ligue 1 goal, which expanded Reims’ advantage to 2-0.

However, the match was not without its tribulations. Despite the rapid succession of early goals, the game experienced a sluggish onset. In a rare twist, the assigned referee sustained an injury, necessitating a substitution by the fourth official midway through the encounter.

Throughout the game, Joseph Okumu was unyielding in his defensive role, successfully intercepting numerous passes aimed at Lille’s forwards. His resilience and strategic play significantly thwarted the efforts of Paulo Fonseca’s squad to equalize or take the lead.

Lille, however, did manage to secure a consolation goal in the 79th minute. Midfielder Benjamin Andre took advantage of a lapse in Reims’ defensive concentration, narrowing the scoreline to 2-1. Nonetheless, Okumu and his teammates responded with composure and determination, maintaining their lead until the referee’s final whistle.

The victory was not just a statistic; it allowed Stade de Reims to surpass Lille on the Ligue 1 table. With a tally of 10 points accumulated from six games, Reims now sits comfortably above the 11th-placed Lille, which remains at eight points.

The early stages of the Ligue 1 season are proving to be highly competitive, with clubs showcasing their tenacity and ambition. Brest presently leads the pack with 13 points, closely followed by Nice with 12. Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco are hot on their heels, each holding 11 points and undoubtedly eyeing the top spot with eagerness.