Victor Osimhen nets brace in Ligue 1 debut as Lille beat Nantes

The talented 20-year-old striker has hit the ground running with a well-taken brace to prove Lille’s matchwinner on matchday one of the new Ligue 1 campaign.

Signed for £10m earlier this month, Osimhen vowed to match his goalscoring exploits from last season in Belgium with his new teammates.

Having rejected advances from Arsenal and Southampton in recent seasons, Osimhen left VfL Wolfsburg for regular first-team minutes – flourishing at Pro League side RSC Charleroi in 18/19.

The Nigeria international had reportedly impressed among new surroundings in training sessions ahead of their opening fixture and naturally started as their lone centre-forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Jonathan Bamba, Ikoné and fellow new recruit Timothy Weah (£9m from PSG) were his creative teammates in the final third, as part of an exciting frontline during their first league game without talisman Nicolas Pépé.

Pepe made a second-half cameo appearance for his new side during their 1-0 win vs. Newcastle

While Arsenal’s £72m summer acquisition largely watched from the substitutes’ bench as Unai Emery’s men were 1-0 away at Newcastle, Osimhen had already broken the deadlock at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

Jose Fonté’s searching long ball set the forward on his way and after speeding past Molla Wague to latch onto the pass, he fired low beyond Alban Lafont into the bottom corner.

Lille players celebrate with Osimhen after his composed finish

The visitors equalised early in the second-half, after good work from Kalifa Coulibaly and Andrei Girotto saw the latter’s speculative effort from distance arrow into the bottom corner.

The strike took a wicked deflection off an unsuspecting Zeki Celik, though the Turkey international atoned for his mistake with a match-winning assist after 80 minutes.

Nantes failed to effectively clear their lines and Celik’s inswinging ball was met by Osimhen, who took a heavy touch forward to set himself before unleashing a piledriver beyond Lafont at his near post.

For the opener, he used deft chest control and his blistering acceleration to explode past the retreating Nantes backline. But to win this, he had to remain composed and have razor-sharp reactions to capitalise on the visitors’ defensive mistake.

What’s next?

Lille travel to Amiens next weekend before a home clash with Saint-Etienne ends the month of August for last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up.

While Pépé might have departed for the riches of Premier League football last month, Osimhen and co are beginning to prove they’re more than capable of responding in his absence.

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