Reims relegated despite thrashing OL
By D. Crossan
The champagne would have tasted flat at Stade de Reims as they were relegated to Ligue 2 despite a convincing 4-1 home win over Olympique Lyonnais.
Stade de Reims 4-1 Olympique Lyonnais
Reims raced into a four-goal lead inside 56 minutes thanks to strikes from Aïssa Mandi, Diego, Atila Turan and Grejohn Kyei. At that stage - with results elsewhere going their way - the atmosphere was decidedly festive inside the Stade Auguste Delaune.
The expression on the face of the injured Nicolas De Préville, listening to the final day drama in the stands, changed as Toulouse scored twice in rapid succession to come from 2-1 down to win 3-2 at Angers and relegate Reims after four top-flight seasons. The TFC result made only this second Ligue 1 win in 10 outings for Reims irrelevant.
David Guion was given only three games to save Reims when he replaced Olivier Guégan and these were the first points claimed by the man who led amateur club Chambéry to the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France in 2011.
Reims were quickly out of the traps and midfielder Antoine Devaux headed a Diego cross against the crossbar in the third minute. Five minutes later Nabil Fekir, making his first start since August, rolled a chance wide for remodeled OL, who had secured a runners-up finish for the second consecutive season when they battered Monaco 6-1 in Week 37.
Home captain Mandi slammed Reims in front from close range in the 14th minute after OL had failed to deal with a Diego free-kick. The Brazilian winger was the outstanding player in the first half and he doubled the advantage ten minutes before half-time, producing an assured finish after being found in space by Gaëtan Charbonnier
The goal of the night came from Franco-Turkish full-back Turan six minutes into the second period. Turan let fly from fully 40 metres, catching the shot incredibly sweetly and surprising Lopes in the Lyon goal.
Soon after, Samuel Umtiti fouled Charbonnier in the box and Kyei came up with an emphatic penalty into the top corner. Maxwel Cornet's eighth of the season in the 63rd minute was just a consolation for an OL side that had nothing left to play for.
The final minutes were all about matters at Angers, and with Toulouse claiming the three points there, Reims finished the season in 18th and were relegated.