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Amadou Onana: Senegal prospect powers Lille past Simon’s Nantes

7:15 AM IST 20/03/22
Amadou Onana
The 20-year-old scored the Mastiffs’ only goal as they picked up an away win against the Canaries in the French elite division

Lille secured a 1-0 away win over Nantes in Saturday’s Ligue 1 clash, with Amadou Onana the hero. 

The Belgium youth international of Senegalese background scored the only goal for the Mastiffs as they extended their unbeaten league run to six matches.

Following their 1-0 defeat to Troyes last time out, the Canaries welcomed Jocelyn Gourvennec’s men to Stade de la Beaujoire, as they targetted a return to winning ways.

For Lille, who crashed out of the Champions League after losing to Chelsea during the week, an away result would boost their chances of playing a fourth consecutive campaign of continental football next term.

In the thrilling fixture, Angel Gomes almost got Gourvennec’s side off to the perfect start with a speculative long-range shot that was pushed away by goalkeeper Alban Lafont.

On the other side, Ludovic Blas forced goalkeeper Leo Jardim into a smart save down to his left-hand side after Randal Kolo Muani took advantage of some indecisive defending from Xeka. 

Nevertheless, just as Nantes were gradually working their way into the clash, Lille took the lead through Onana with four minutes left into the first half break. 

The 20-year-old reacted quickest on the rebound to slot the ball home after Jose Fonte’s initial header was saved by Lafont.

That was his first goal in the French elite division since joining from German second-tier side Hamburg at the start of the 2021-22 campaign.

The hosts suffered a slight setback shortly as injured Quentin Merlin was replaced by Fabio.

Muani was presented with a chance to restore parity for Nantes after the restart, but he headed wide a cross from Moses Simon.

The visitors’ lead was threatened when referee Pierre Gaillouste sent Timothy Weah packing for his dangerous challenge on Samuel Moutoussamy. The decision was upheld after VAR review.

Pedro Chirivella nearly made that one-man advantage count, only to see his effort painfully hit both posts before rebounding to safety. 

Onana was in action from start to finish as well as Cote d’Ivoire prospect Jonathan Bamba. 

Nigeria international Simon was subbed off for Wylan Cyprien with three minutes left to play, while Congolese midfielder Samuel Moutoussamy came off for Willem Geubbels in the 63rd minute.

Simon is expected to join Augustine Eguavoen’s Super Eagles ahead of next week’s World Cup qualification play-off against Ghana.