Reims climb into the top three
A 1-0 home success against Montpellier, secured by an early Yunis Abdelhamid goal, took Reims into the provisional Ligue 1 Conforama top three.
Having lost at home to Montpellier in each of the last two seasons, Reims knew the importance of making a good start and that is exactly what David Guion's side managed as Abdelhamid (2') headed home a Mathieu Cafaro corner, beating Vitorino Hilton and Pedro Mendes in the air.
Reims were dominant in the first half and spurned several chances to add to their lead. Rémi Oudin thought he'd doubled the home advantage (34') but his defelcted shot was ruled out following a VAR review as Boulaye Dia was offside when he latched onto Abdelhamid's long pass earlier in the move.
Michel Der Zakarian brought on veteran attacker Souleymane Camara before half-time as he attempted to boost MHSC's attacking threat and the visitors began to come into it more. Ambroise Oyongo (53') got away a powerful left-footed shot that Predrag Rajkovic tipped over the crossbar.
Geronimo Rulli, the Montpellier goalkeeper, saved from Cafaro (63') and Reims sub Anastasios Donis (76') as the result stayed in doubt until the final whistle, despite MHSC's continued inability to create chances.
THE PLAYER: Yunis Abdelhamid
So impressive last season, Abdelhamid has started every game this campaign as Reims' defence continues to flourish despite the summer sale of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Rennes and Bjôrn Engels to Aston Villa. For good measure, the Montpellier-born Morocco international popped up with a crucial winner.
THE STAT: 4
Reims have conceded only four goals after 10 Ligue 1 Conforama games and only Bordeaux (two conceded in 1989-1990) and Paris Saint-Germain (three conceded in 1996-1997) have started a French top division season with a better defensive record.