Joseph Okumu’s Reims suffer slump in Champions League race following defeat to Lens

STARS ABROAD Joseph Okumu’s Reims suffer slump in Champions League race following defeat to Lens

Mark Kinyanjui 12:30 - 17.12.2023

The Harambee Stars defender did not have the best of games as Stade Reims suffered defeat to Lens, who recently finished third in Group B of the Champions League.

Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu featured but could do very little to prevent Reims from suffering defeat to Europa League play-off members Lens in a very anticipated Ligue 1 encounter on matchday 16.

Okumu did not hold himself in very high esteem, as he made a costly error that effectively prevented the side from getting all three points in a match where Lens were simply the dominant side.

Although he made five tackles and interceptions while also making seven clearances, he made an error that led to a goal and was also lucky to get away without a booking after committing a last-man tackle.

He did however boast a 100 percent ground and areal duels win on the night. The opening goal arrived in the 43rd minute when Wesley Saïd found the back of the net. Then in the 75th minute the team’s young 20-year-old Colombian talent, Oscar Cortés, secured his first goal for Lens.

Assisted by Ruben Aguilar, Cortés's goal confirmed the win and also underscored Aguilar's exceptional performance on the right side of the pitch.

The 2-0 victory earned Lens three crucial points, propelling them to the fifth spot in the league table, which is currently a Europa League place. Meanwhile, Stade de Reims remain eighth.

Lens remain dominant at home, having won 14 out of their last 19 Ligue 1 home games in 2023, a run second only to their historic play in 1956, when they won 15. 

They also remain unbeaten in their last 11 Ligue 1 games, having conceded only four goals in that spell. This strong run of form comes after a challenging start to the season, where Lens suffered four losses in their first five games, conceding 11 goals.

For their part, Stade de Reims have experienced a sharp dip in form, suffering four losses in their last five Ligue 1 matches. In their final matches of 2023, Lens will put their strong form to the test on the road against second-placed OGC Nice, while Reims host Le Havre.  

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