Moses Simon scored a first-half brace for Nantes who were held to a 2-2 draw by 10-man Lens in the French Ligue 1 on Saturday, a result which serves as a huge blow to their European championships qualification ambitions.
The Nigeria international put Nantes in front in the eighth minute after being teed up by Marcos Coco before scoring in the second 32nd minute of the encounter.
The visitors failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage after the sending off of Lens goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca in the 19th minute with the hosts coming out stronger in the second half and salvaging a point in the encounter.
The result places Nantes in the ninth position with 51 points, six points off the fifth-placed Strasburg who currently occupy the UEFA Europa Conference League spot.
The brace takes Simon’s goals tally to six in the campaign while he has also contributed eight assists and according to Ligue 1 statistics, the Nigerian became the first Canaries player to be involved in more than 10 goals in three consecutive seasons in the competition since the late Emiliano Sala achieved the feat between 2016/17 and 2018/19 campaigns.
Despite taking their foot off the gas that gave the hosts the opportunity to get themselves back into the game, Nantes manager, Antoine Kombouaré, says he is satisfied with the result and also with Simon’s performance.
“I’m satisfied, really. Even if we had a great first half, I had warned my players that we had to work for this third goal. Lens deserves to come back to the score. We could also have lost. point is a good thing,” Kombouaré said after the game.
“The idea was to get out good balls to have opportunities. Simon enjoyed himself, and on a better day Kolo Muani could have done some damage.”
Simon was subbed off for Kalifa Coulibaly in the 70th minute.