Six days after a big success at Clermont (4-0) thanks to a lightning hat-trick from Loïs Openda, the Belgian striker scored a double, his 13th and 14th goals of the season in Ligue 1. And justified his presence in the first list of the new Belgian coach, Domenico Tedesco, unveiled Friday.
This second victory in a row allows Lens (57 pts) to find for the moment the place of dauphin of Paris SG left for a few days in Marseille (3rd, 56 pts).
The pressure is now on the shoulders of the Phocaeans, who travel Sunday evening (20:45) to Reims, the team in form of the moment. And on those of Monaco (4th, 51 pts), which could lose in case of counter-performance, Sunday (13:00) in Ajaccio, contact with the podium.
This success also allows Lens to put aside behind him the slack experienced recently, with only one victory in seven league games between late January and early March.
Conversely, Angers is sinking deeper and deeper into crisis, with a 22nd defeat in 28 rounds, for 2 wins and 4 draws. With 10 points, 13 less than the first non-relegable, SCO is heading straight for Ligue 2.
The Angevins seemed to have come to Bollaert with good intentions. They had control of the ball in the first minutes, but did not take advantage of it to endanger the recent summoned to the France team, the Lensois goalkeeper Brice Samba.
The Lensois Lois Openda on March 18, 2023 © Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP
After a tasteless start to the match, Lens broke the deadlock in a few minutes.
Perfectly launched by a long pass from Salis Abdul Samed, Seko Fofana opened the scoring with a cross that Angevin goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni touched without diverting it enough (26th).
Then, a few days after his second hat-trick in Ligue 1, Loïs Openda confirmed his return to form: after recovering the ball at the entrance of the box, he got rid of his defender in one hook before deceiving Bernardoni with a low strike (30th).
The Belgian offered himself a double a few seconds after the return of the locker room, by overtaking the Angevin Ousmane Camara and then setting Bernardoni for 3-0 (46th).
He could even have scored another hat-trick if not for a parry from Bernardoni (62nd), who again avoided a wider score a few minutes later by stopping a shot from Seko Fofana (66th).
The end of the match was quieter, the Lensois preserving their score and the Angevins wasting their few opportunities to save the honor. The match ended with the sound of chants from Bollaert's audience, which was sold out for the 21st consecutive time.
Lens supporters on March 18, 2023 © Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP
The Lensois had switched their flocks for the meeting, as part of a campaign against racism and anti-Semitism with Licra and the Professional Football League (LFP). Loïs Openda played with the name of Angelo Fulgini on the back, Seko Fofana with that of substitute goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca.
© 2023 AFP