Lens took another step towards qualifying for the Champions League next season, with a 2-1 victory at home at Reims on Friday, despite one of its players being sent off early to play with 10 men. Sekou Fofana scored the winning goal in the second half after Przemyslav Frankowski equalized after Lens opened the scoring with a penalty through Folarin Balogun after Kevin Danso had been sent off.
With this result, second-placed Lens raised its tally to 75 points with three matches remaining in the season, three points behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who will face Ajaccio today, Saturday.
Lens is five points ahead of third-placed Olympique de Marseille, who hosts Angers on Sunday. The top two teams qualify for the Champions League group stage, while the third-placed team will play in the third qualifying round.
“What’s happening this season is magical,” said Lens midfielder Florian Satoka. We knew we would have chances (to win) even if we were down to 10 men. Reims took the lead in the 23rd minute after being awarded a penalty when Danso was shown a straight red card for pushing Marshall Munetsi into the penalty area.
Balogun calmly slotted the penalty kick past Bryce Samba to give his team an early lead. However, Lance were awarded a penalty five minutes before half-time when Adrien Thomason was fouled inside the penalty area by Emmanuel Agbado and Frankowski equalized.
Contrary to expectations, Fofana gave the hosts the advantage 10 minutes into the second half with a superb low shot from inside the penalty area after Diver Machado set him up. Lance ended up playing 5-3-1 and continued it until the final whistle.