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Nîmes roar past Reims

Publish on 02/05/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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Jordan Ferri returned from suspension to lead Nîmes Olympique to an impressive 3-0 win over Stade de Reims at their Stade Auguste Delaune. Renaud Ripart and Denis Bouanga were also on target for the visitors.

Stade de Reims 0-3 Nîmes Olympique 

THE MATCH

Reims started well enough in front of their home fans, Rémi Oudin - once again leading the line in the absence of Pablo Chavarria - flashing a close-range shot wide (3') before Mathieu Cafaro sent a free-kick high of Paul Bernardoni's goal (14'). But Nîmes soon settled into their stride and Ferri, who had missed last Sunday's 5-0 hammering at the hands of LOSC, set about making up for lost time by latching onto Téji Savanier's delivery and smashing home the opener (26'). Reims continued to press forward and Cafaro came close to drawing the level, but his shot from the edge of the box sailed past the far post (33'). Instead Nîmes carried a two-goal lead into the break, Ripart steering the ball past Edouard Mendy from mere metres out (43').

Nîmes make sure

The second half was less than a minute old when Nîmes pulled further clear. Sada Thioub's shot was deflected clear but Bouanga got the break of the ball in the ensuing stramash and forced home his seventh goal of the season (46'). Björn Engels tried to reduce the arrears with a header from a corner, but Bernardoni was equal to the Belgian centre-back's attempt (47'). Most of the attacking traffic was flowing in the other direction, though, and Bounga was unlucky not to make it four when he found himself unmarked in the Reims box only to see Mendy force his effort clear with his foot (63'). Bernardoni still had another big save to make at the other end, turning Alaixys Romao's effort around the post (68'), but Nîmes were deserved winners, Bouanga seeing another effort shave the woodwork (77') and it ended 3-0.

THE PLAYER: Denis Bouanga

Bounga was a bundle of energy in the final third for Nîmes, winning some 26 one-on-ones as well as a game join-best three shots on target, once of which went in. Gabon teammates with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, when he plays like this he doesn't look out of place keeping such company.

THE STAT: 21

Nîmes had 21 shots on Reims's goal compared to the Champagne club's 11 on theirs. Les Crocodiles leapfrogging Reims into eighth was nothing if not deserved.