Loanee Wilson-Esbrand sends Reims fourth in France


Reims' defender #19 Joshua Wilson-Esbrand (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal for his team during the French L1 football match between Stade de Reims and FC Lorient at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, northern France on October 28, 2023.

Substitute Josh Wilson-Esbrand has struck late as Reims edged Lorient 1-0 to move into fourth place in the French league.

In Saturday's other Ligue 1 clash, last season's runners-up Lens continue to recover from their shaky start to the new campaign.

Franck Haise's side climbed to ninth with a 4-0 thumping of Nantes helped by two goals and an assist from Florian Sotoca.

On loan from Manchester City, Wilson-Esbrand opened his scoring account for Reims by curling into the far corner in the 84th minute.

"It was a no-brainer to come here," the 20-year-old told broadcaster Amazon Prime Video.

"It's such an intriguing league, an exciting league. I'm happy to be here."

Reims dominated the first half, with Lorient keeper Yvon Mvogo reacting well to save a downward header from Teddy Teuma and a deflected shot from Mohamed Daramy in the first-half.

Frustrated by Lorient's apparent time-wasting, Reims coach Will Still was sent off in the 81st minute after receiving a second yellow card for dissent.

He was contrite after the match.

"We had to show patience and not lose patience, unlike me," Still told Amazon Prime Video.

"I've always been like that. Even when I was little, I was receiving stupid red cards because I live in the moment and sometimes I'm a little bit silly.

"It was taking 10 years for a goal kick and six years for a throw-in. I was telling myself, 'At some point, he will caution them, he will say something'.

"And then it's me who screwed up. I shouldn't have reacted that way."

Lens' hero Sotoca - who netted a penalty in each half - hoped his side's convincing victory over seventh-placed Nantes was a sign of better things to come.

"We've had good games since the start of the season, but we were not successful in terms of points," Sotoca told Canal Plus television.

"I hope this will tip us over to the right side. In any case, it's a game that can boost our confidence for the future."

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