Saturday May 3rd 2003

Referee : M. Milliot assistants M. Chevereau & M. Charton - attendance : 300
Goals : Eustache (11), Elouaari (84) - Mongin (41) Booked : Lakrout (22), Mongin (58) - Eustache (52 & 71)
Sent off : Eustache (71)

RED STAR : Néret, Yessad, Kor, Kébé, Carles (Hammami 54), Hamdane, Lakrout, Nemouthié, Mongin, Delaneuville (Ribeiro 78), M'Boungou-Matondo (Marques 52). Coach: Ousfane
REIMS : Balijon, Eustache, Jezierski, Lafond (Pochon, 61), Bertrand, Courivaux, Haynau, Brison (Latreille, 56), Rogé, Elouaari, Neris (Bichet 75). Coach: F. Triqueneaux


Red Star somehow managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory yet again at Bauer on Saturday. Which is more or less the story of the season so far.
Reims were there for the taking. Down to ten men following the dismissal of goalscorer Eustache, with the home side pressing forwards in search of the winner, a counter-attack six minutes from time killed off Ousfanes' men.
It has to be said that anyone missing the first forty minutes of the game hadn't missed a great deal. A dull performance interrupted by Reims' opening the scoring on eleven minutes. In Reims' first real attack of the game, Kébé was forced the head the ball behind for a corner, and from the resulting kick Eustache was unmarked on the far post, heading powerfully downwards to beat Fred Néret.
Instead of kick-starting Red Star into life, the stupour continued, and lasted until just before half time when Delenauville sent MONGIN clear, beating the offside trap, before Red Stars' burly forward neatly lobbed the Reims goalkeeper. (1-1). From this point on it was all Red Star.
After the break it was one-way traffic. Red Star pressed forwards in numbers, each time the red wall blocked their progress. Then two important personnel changes in as many minutes changed the complexion of the match. Firstly M'Boungou-Matondo was replaced by Marques. A surprising move, as the Red Star striker was one of the players capable of making a difference. Moments later Eustache clattered into Julien Carles, damaging the Red Star mans' ankle in the process. A yellow card for his troubles, but unfortunately Red Star had the bring off the full back, replacing him with Hammami. The change changed the balance of Red Stars' defence, with Hammami going to the right and Nabile Yessad, having a great game and also adding attacking potential to the home side switched over to the left.
Red Stars' attacks had a little less bite than before, but nevertheless they should have been awarded a penalty as Mongin raced clear only to be bundled over in the eighteen yard box. No foul, as the referee waved play on, then booked Mongin for diving. This incensed the home crowd, and some harsh words were directed at the official. The fact that the referee was a good thiry to forty metres away from the action didn't help.
Inside the last twenty minutes and Reims were down to ten men as Eustache, whom up to then had looked a good player committed one foul too many and earned himself a second yellow card, synonymous with an early bath.
Reims resorted to defending in numbers, a tactic which worked well against Red Stars' ineffective strikers. With only minutes to play Reims broke the hearts of the home team, and probably condemned their visitors to relegation as Elouaari raced clear and slotted the ball past Néret into the Red Star net. (1-2).
Despite the result, Red Star had given all that they could, but were shown not to be lacking in heart and spirit, but in technique and luck. Sufficient to tip them even further towards the DH. The second goal was conceded as they had thrown everything into attack, so no-one really could be blamed for that. A cruel blow indeed, albeit a vital one in the history of this once-great club.

© 2003



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