Moses Simon: Nigeria winger equals Sala’s Nantes record with brace against Kakuta’s Lens

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Sala, Simon
The Nigeria international’s first-half double saw him match a feat only achieved by the former Canaries striker

Moses Simon’s double saw Nantes settle for a 2-2 draw with Lens in Saturday’s Ligue 1 fixture which means that the Nigeria winger has equalled a club record that has stood for three years.

In finding the target twice against the Blood and Gold, the Nigeria international became the second player in the club’s history to have scored 10+ goals in three consecutive French top-flight seasons.

The previous player to do this was Emiliano Sala, who achieved the feat between the 2016/17 and 2018/19 seasons. 

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Sala, who played for Nantes at the time of his passing, died at the age of 28 when the plane he was travelling in crashed over the English channel in January 2019.

Ibbotson, 59, also lost his life in the tragic incident, which occurred while the Argentine was travelling to Wales to complete a £15 million move to Cardiff City.

Buoyed by his goal as Nantes silenced Bordeaux 5-3 last time out, the Nigerian was named in the Canaries' starting XI as they travelled to Stade Bollaert-Delelis.

He repaid Antoine Kombouare’s faith in him by putting his team ahead after eight minutes after he was teed up by Marcus Coco. 

After collecting an inch-perfect header from the former France youth international, Simon streaked in behind and slotted the ball into the far corner past the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca.

Things got worse for Lens as the home team got reduced to 10 men as Leca was shown the way out by referee Thomas Leonard for his dangerous play against Simon. 

Profiting from their numerical disadvantage, the Super Eagle doubled his team’s advantage in the 32nd minute as he followed up a rebounded effort to tap home into an empty net, giving the visitors a two-goal advantage heading into the half-time break. 

Despite looking dead and buried, the hosts were relentless as they continued to push for goals. That paid off in the 67th minute with David Pereira Da Costa pulling one goal back through a counter-attacking move orchestrated by Seko Fofana. 

The hosts were given the chance to restore parity with nine minutes left on the clock when Alban Lafont fouled Wesley Said in the dangerous area. The ensuing kick was converted by Arnaud Kalimuendo, completing a remarkable comeback for Franck Haise’s men.

Even with his man-of-the-match display, Simon was subbed off for Kalifa Coulibaly in the 70th minute while Congo’s Samuel Moutoussamy was in action from start to finish. 

Meanwhile, Charles Traore (Mali) and Jean-Charles Castelletto (Cameroon) were not dressed for action in the keenly contested affair. 

On the other side, former Chelsea star and DR Congo international Gael Kakuta was introduced for David Pereira Da Costa in the 82nd minute. 

Thanks to this result, Nantes occupy the ninth position on the log having garnered 51 points from 35 matches played so far.