Oudin the difference as Reims down Toulouse
Stade de Reims pulled within two points of the European places with a 1-0 win at Toulouse FC, Rémi Oudin's early opener proving enough to separate the sides.
Toulouse FC 0-1 Stade de Reims
Reims were given an unexpected day off last Wednesday with their match at Amiens SC called off due to heavy fog, and they looked bright and refreshed at the Stadium de Toulouse, racing into the lead inside the opening 10 minutes when Rémi Oudin - who had already hit the post (8') - nicked the ball off Agustin Rogel's toe on the edge of the TFC box and fired beyond Baptiste Reynet for 1-0 (9'). There was palpable concern among the home support when Yaya Sanogo went down clutching his ankle (23') but the former Arsenal FC man dusted himself down and nearly restored parity when he met Wesley Saïd's cross, but Thomas Foket got back to clear the danger (27'). Mathieu Cafaro was the next to go close, the Dijon midfielder finding space on the edge of the area before firing wide (30'). Kouadio Koné then tried to get things going at the other end, letting fly from range, but his effort was blocked by Reims centre-back Axel Disasi (35'). Suk Hyun-jun replaced the injured Boulaye Dia for Reims (43') before the half-time whistle blew with the visitors in the ascendancy.
Reims hold out
After a slow start to the second half the match exploded back into action after the hour mark. Disasi, so impressive in his own box, came close to making it 2-0 in Toulouse's, rising highest to meet a corner, but Reynet reacted well to push his header onto the crossbar (61'). The visitors thought they should have had a penalty when Ibrahim Sangaré handballed Cafaro's cross, but after consultation with VAR, referee Clément Turpin waved play on (62'). Cafaro went from near-maker to near-taker soon after but his bottom-corner bound shot was saved by Reynet (68'). David Guion's men threw everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at Le Téfécé in an attempt to extend their lead and should really have added gloss to the scoreline in the last minute when Alaixys Romao met Hassane Kamara's cross at the oenalty spot, but the Reims captain lost his balance and shot wide (90'). Toulouse's second-half substitute Jean-Victor Makengo nearly punished that profligacy with the final kick, but Reynet was equal to his effort (90'+3) and it ended 1-0.
THE PLAYER: Mathieu Cafaro
Oudin got what proved to be the game-winning goal but Cafaro was the best player on the pitch on Saturday. The young midfielder broke into professional football via the Toulouse academy, making his debut in 2016, but after making just four further appearances he left for Reims the following year. He was obviously keen to show what the south coast club are missing, with his three shots on target a game-high.
THE STAT: 8
Toulouse have now lost each of their last eight games in Ligue 1 Conforama. Antoine Kombouaré's side have not picked up three points in the French top flight since beating LOSC 2-1 in Week 10, and need to find a solution soon or a return to Domino's Ligue 2 could await them come the end of the campaign.