Joseph Okumu puts in eye catching show in Reims' narrow defeat to Nice

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STARS ABROAD Joseph Okumu puts in eye catching show in Reims' narrow defeat to Nice

Festus Chuma 09:00 - 11.12.2023

Okumu's standout defensive display shines as Stade de Reims faces an intense battle against Nice.

Harambee Stars defender Joseph Okumu put on an impressive display when he took the field for Stade de Reims in their French Ligue 1 clash against Nice at the Allianz Riviera Stadium on Sunday.

The Kenyan international played a pivotal role in a fiercely contested match, making several crucial interceptions that prevented what could have been a heavy defeat for Stade de Reims.

From the very start of the game, Okumu was in the thick of the action.

In the third minute, he won a crucial free-kick in defense, setting the tone for his exceptional performance.

However, the early minutes of the game saw Okumu concede two corners in the fifth and eighth minutes, showing the intensity of the encounter.

As the clock reached the half-hour mark, Okumu once again stepped up, winning another crucial free-kick in defense.

Throughout the match, his presence on the pitch was felt, as he tirelessly thwarted the opponent's attacks and showcased his composure under pressure.

The clash saw both teams battling fiercely for control, and the drama unfolded with each passing minute.

Ivory Coast forward Jeremie Boga emerged as a hero for Nice, unleashing a low strike from 18 yards in the 82nd minute.

The shot took a deflection off Reims goalkeeper Yehvann Diouf's hands, finding the back of the net and sealing the victory for the home team.

Nice, known for their patient buildup and possession-based style of play, deviated from their usual script in the 55th minute when goalkeeper Marcin Bulka surprised everyone with a long punt.

This unexpected move led to Gaetan Laborde seizing the opportunity and opening the scoring for Nice with a shot off the underside of the bar.

Reims, captained by Yunis Abdelhamid netted the equalizer in the 78th minute. Junya Ito delivered a pinpoint cross, and Abdelhamid met it with a powerful downward header that found the back of the net.

Ito himself came close to scoring earlier in the 67th minute when his effort struck the woodwork.

As the final whistle blew, Nice emerged victorious, moving two points ahead of Monaco in the league standings. In contrast, Reims dropped to the sixth position, reflecting the fierce competition in the French league.

This highly anticipated match was almost played without fans in attendance.

French authorities had initially banned away fans from attending four matches, citing them as 'high risk' following the tragic death of a supporter in Nantes the previous weekend.

Lyon fans were barred from attending their team's 3-0 loss at Marseille on Wednesday, while Lens supporters were not allowed to travel to Friday's match in Montpellier.

Reims supporters were also initially set to be denied access to the Allianz Riviera for the clash with Nice on Sunday, but the government's decision was later reversed, allowing fans to witness the thrilling encounter.

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