The blood and gold coat of arms shone, promised, sworn. Before kick-off, the Marek kop and the Ultras of the Red Tigers had asked only one thing from their eleven Gladiators against Arsenal: that their Racing Club de Lens shine brightly, with or without victory. They had transmitted this request via a banner as majestic as the blue star-spangled tifo deployed just above and covering the entire stand. Let’s not beat around the bush, they were not disappointed. This evening of October 3, 2023 is already for life.
The Bollaert stadium experienced a Champions League evening, a real one, a great one, an incandescent one, living up to the expectations of a whole people. Twenty-one years after its last participation in the C1, the iconic venue thought it had to capitalize on the magic of the Cup and try the “Little Thumb” trick. At least that’s what we understood from the press conference. None of that happened. 90 minutes later, Arsenal still haven’t figured out where they’ve landed. Lens won because he was stronger, more consistent, sharper, more everything and more.
Facing the English vice-champion, Franck Haise’s men gave up nothing of their values, playing exactly the football they love and which saw them tickle PSG to the end last season. Construction phases sometimes, pressing often, and a desire to play simple all the time, without distorting oneself.
Adrien Thomasson, the only change in the eleven compared to the draw obtained in Seville two weeks ago (1-1), was one of the only ones to initially appear paralyzed by the challenge. Guilty on the opening score in London, after a poorly supported pass in the midfield, it is in fact him, like a symbol, who will revive hope. And in what way, a splendid volley at the entrance to the area on a lightning counter initiated by Machado and continued by Elye Wahi, who hits Thomasson with the tip of his foot. A jewel in the opposite skylight synonymous with general jubilation. We’re only in the first act.
A Samba with golden feet
From there, it was as if Arsenal had doubts. Unable to start the second and unbalance the blood and gold defense with all its offensive weapons, the Gunners thought they would rob the bank in the second period from a corner. But the key to the safe, Brice Samba and his golden feet did not intend to offer it to the first comers (66th).
We arrive at act two. Three minutes later, Wahi gives the advantage with an unstoppable cross shot. The second goal of the former Montpellier in his new colors, but undoubtedly the one which will propel him into the hearts of the public. 20 years old and already author of a goal offering the scalp of Arsenal, how can you not resist a few levitating moments….
IT’S MADNESS IN BOLLAERT 🍾 🍾
Elye Wahi takes a cross from Frankowski head on and gives the Sang et Or the advantage 🟡 🔴
— CANAL+ Foot (@CanalplusFoot) October 3, 2023
“In the North, it was the Corons”, we then heard a roar as for the first time in Artois. A simple and prodigious communion at the same time, a final bouquet. We should probably take a sabbatical to try to understand what is happening in this stadium as soon as the Champions League rears its head. It was only the seventh C1 home match in the history of Racing. And yet already the fourth victory. In its own way, Lens is a great player in Europe. Yes, we get a little fired up but not too much either. After two matches, he is in any case alone first in his group and more than ever a very fine and very worthy representative of French football.