Kenyan Joseph Okumu excelled in defense as Stade de Reims and FC Nantes engaged in a tightly contested Ligue 1 match.
Kenyan international Joseph Okumu was a key figure in Stade de Reims' defense as they played out a goalless draw against FC Nantes in an intense French Ligue 1 encounter on Sunday at Stade Auguste-Delaune II.
From the onset, Reims took control, exerting pressure on the visitors. Nantes, under siege, conceded numerous set-pieces, as Reims sought an opening goal.
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Early on, Reims' aerial dominance almost paid dividends. In the 12th minute Agbadou leaped higher than the rest but his header just skimmed over the crossbar of Nantes' goalkeeper Lafont.
Nantes managed to withstand the hosts' onslaught thanks largely to Okumu's marshalling of the Reims' backline.
As the first half progressed the game opened up with both teams engaging in more frequent attacks.
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The intensity took its toll when Nantes' Cömert had to leave the field in the 38th minute, replaced by Nicolas Pallois, due to an injury.
The halftime whistle blew with neither side able to break the deadlock.
Nantes started the second half with a substitution, introducing Kader Bamba for Marcus Coco and the change seemed to spark some life into the visitors. Florent Mollet of Nantes twice tested Reims' goalkeeper Diouf with a free-kick and a long-range effort in the 57th and 61st minutes, respectively.
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Responding with fervor Reims tried to capitalize on their offensive play around the hour mark. However, their aggression left gaps in their defense which Nantes nearly exploited.
In the 70th minute, Nantes won a penalty, but Zimbabwean international Tino Kadewere's attempt was unsuccessful.
With the Nantes defence looking solid and compact, goalkeeper Alban Lafont remained largely untested, thanks to the disciplined defense of his team.
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Reims sensing the urgency ramped up their attacks and in the 87th minute they nearly scored from a corner but Agbadou's header once again went just over the bar.
The drama continued until the final moments with Teuma missing a free-kick in the 90th minute sealing the match as a stalemate.