Loïs Openda, Lens, Toulouse
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Toulouse-Lens preview: Openda to upend Cup winners?

Toulouse-Lens preview: Openda to upend Cup winners?

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Publish on 05/01 at 10:10 - S. TELFORD

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Loïs Openda hit a hat-trick the last time RC Lens played Toulouse FC. Can he dampen the Coupe de France winners' celebrations when then teams meet on Tuesday night?

Toulouse FC - RC Lens

 

- Kick-off: 19:00 GMT

 

>> LIVE SCORING, STATS & COMMENTARY

  

Openda is a man in form having hit five goals in his last five games, including a brace as les Sang et Or beat AS Monaco 3-0 last Saturday.

 

As his hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Toulouse last October attests, the Belgian has proved difficult to stop all season, and now boasts 17 goals and three assists - registered at a rate of one every 102 minutes he has played in Ligue 1 Uber Eats.

 

Lens focused

 

Lens have been similarly impressive in 2022/23, and were Paris Saint-Germain's nearest challengers  for much of the campaign prior to being beaten 3-1 by the champions three weeks ago. Manager Franck Haise is taking nothing for granted, though.

 

Watch: Highlights of Lens' 3-0 win over Monaco


 

"We have an important match in Toulouse, and we can't look past that," he said. "They're a great team, and anyone who didn't know that got confirmation last weekend. They're having a very good season and are dynamic, with quality."

 

Lens will pull to within a point of second-placed Olympique de Marseille with a win, but it is three points they will be pursuing without Salis Abdul Samid, with the Ghana midfielder suspended. Wesley Saïd has a thigh strain, but might not have displaced Openda anyway.

 

Toulouse have turned a corner

 

Toulouse begin the day in 13th, 10 places and 25 points worse off than their visitors, but they have won four of their last five games in all competitions, including thrashing holders FC Nantes 5-1 to lift the Coupe de France on Saturday.

 

Logan Costa scored a pair of goals inside the opening 10 minutes at the Stade de France, before Thijs Dallinga (x2) and Zakaria Aboukhlal added their names to the scoresheet.


"I'd like us to go back to the [town hall] and then get some sleep after that because we have to play on Tuesday but I'm not sure anyone will listen to me this time," Haise's opposite number Philippe Montanier said after the win. "We wanted to make history for the club but we'll maybe go down in cup history with that scoreline."

 

Nothing to lose?

 

With four teams getting relegated from Ligue 1 Uber Eats this season and Toulouse not yet mathematically safe, Montanier isn't expected to rotate too much despite expecting his players to celebrate the Coupe de France triumph.

 

Costa should keep his place at centre-back, with Anthony Rouault rotating in for Rasmus Nicolaisen alongside the youngster. Brecht Dejaegere and Branco van den Boomen missed the 1-0 win at FC Lorient in Round 32 with concussion and suspension respectively, but both are available on Tuesday.

 

Possible teams

 

Toulouse: Dupé; Desler, Rouault, Costa, Suazo; Spierings, Van den Boomen; Aboukhlal, Dejaegere, Chaïbi; Dallinga

 

Lens: Samba; Gradit, Danso, Medina; Frankowski, Onana, Fofana, Machado; Thomasson, Fulgini; Openda

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