Reims inflict another loss on Puel
Reims beat Saint-Etienne 3-1 as Les Verts fell for the second time in three games.
Stade de Reims 3-1 AS Saint-Etienne
Reims extended their unbeaten run to four matches as they scored their first Ligue 1 Conforama victory since Week 10 and a 1-0 success at home to Montpellier. After having their scheduled midweek game at Amiens postponed because of fog, Reims looked fresher than ASSE - big winners against Nice in the week - as they closed to within a point of their opponents on the day.
ASSE had only suffered their first defeat under Claude Puel in Week 15 when they fell at Rennes and their form has faltered. Reims went in front (10') when Mathieu Cafaro's shot wasn't cleared and Rémi Oudin beat Stéphane Ruffier with an acrobatic effort. Ruffier was equal to Oudin's next attempt (11') and then ASSE woke up as Predrag Rajkovic had to deal with an attempt by Franck Honorat (21').
Boulaye Dia (42') fired wide as Reims looked for a second goal and then ASSE equalised just before the hour (59') as Romain Hamouma shot home after Jean-Eudes Aholou had failed to connect cleanly with Honorat's pull-back. Reims restored their advantage (67') when Xavier Chavalerin provided the perfect cross for Boulaye Dia to score his second in as many games and his fifth of the season. ASSE didn't close enough to the forward as he headed in, getting up between Loïc Perrin and Wesley Fofana.
Honorat (90+2') played his team into trouble by losing the ball near his own area and Moussa Doumbia moved away to score with a powerful left-footed shot. It meant Reims had scored three in a game for the first time since defeating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 in Week 38 last season.
THE PLAYER: Rémi Oudin
Reims' star player last season with 10 goals might have expected to have started the new campaign at a different club. Still at Reims, it has taken time for the midfielder to get his season going but his second goal of the season might prove to be just the launchpad the 23-year-old and his club needed.
THE STAT: 16
Reims hadn't beaten Saint-Etienne in the league in 16 matches since a 3-2 home success in 1976. ASSE had won nine times and there had been seven draws before Reims' success on Sunday.