Dream debut for Osimhen
By D. Crossan
Nigerian international Victor Osimhen scored a double on a dream debut as LOSC defeated Nantes 2-1 at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.
Despite selling 160 million euros worth of players in the summer including last season's top scorer Nicolas Pépé, LOSC served notice that they're credible challengers for a top three finish again as Ligue 1 Conforama saw more great talents unearthed by Luis Campos as Osimhen shone and record signing Yusuf Yazici impressed off the bench.
Because of transfers, injuries and suspensions, only four of the LOSC team that took to the field in Week 38 of last season at Rennes began this game. Jose Fonte - one of the quartet - was as precious as ever and his long ball led to LOSC opening the scoring (19') as Osimhen outstripped Nantes debutant Molla Wagué, controlled the ball superbly on his chest and left thigh and then finished across Alban Lafont, the goalkeeper making his first Nantes appearance after joining from Fiorentina on a two-year loan.
The LOSC blueprint looked similar to last season's as Christophe Galtier's team attempted to release quick attackers. Mike Maignan showed why he was voted Ligue 1 Conforama goalkeeper of the year last term as he tipped over a Lucas Lima free-kick (27').
LOSC had shaded the first half but Nantes - with new coach Christian Gourcuff active on the touchline even if Patrick Collot picked the team - were the superior side for the first half-hour of the second period. Les Canaris levelled when Andrei Girotto's shot, which was going wide, took a wicked deflection off Zeki Celik. Charles Traoré (54') and Samuel Moutoussamy (70') - on early for the injured Marcus Coco - then had chances to put Nantes in front.
Lille enjoyed a resurgence in the final 15 minutes, inspired by substitute Yazici who nearly opened his account for the club with an exquisite free-kick (78'). A Lucas Lima defensive error, clearing straight to Celik enabled LOSC to score the winner (80'). The full-back crossed and Osimhen's touch created the angle for him to smash a shot past Lafont at the near post. Jonathan Ikoné (85') and Jonathan Bamba (88') could have added the gloss to the scoreline.
THE PLAYER: Victor Osimhen
Signed from Charleroi for 12 million euros, Osimhen had trained with his new club for only five days having featured for Nigeria in the third-place play-off defeat to Tunisia at the Africa Cup of Nations. On the basis of this impressive debut the electric forward looks well capable of replacing Pépé's goals.
THE STAT: 5
LOSC have won their last five Ligue 1 Conforama home games.