On Saturday evening, former Liverpool striker David N'Gog continued his return to prominence with the third goal in Stade de Reims' 3-1 win over Nantes at the Stade Auguste Delaune.
The result itself wasn't a shock, Reims have a fairly good record in the Champagne region, but it was the manner of the outcome that raised eyebrows. After a decent start, Nantes were caught napping and once behind they were flat and their play lacked any fizz, much to coach Michel Der Zakarian's disappointment in an interview with the official Ligue 1 website.
"We started extremely well but couldn't convert that onto the scoresheet," he lamented.
"Then, from their first set piece, they scored. We knew they have potential from these phases of play. Then, we lost (Yacine) Bammou and (Olivier) Veigneau (to injury) and had (Chaker) Alhadhur sent off. It was a terrible night for us because we lost players and we lost the match. Sometimes that's how it goes. But we played good football."
Full praise has to go to Jean-Luc Vasseur and his team. They looked bright and well worth the two-goal victory. Only two minutes separated the goals from Gregory Bourillon and Aissa Mandi, by the 16th minute they were two up and as Der Zakarian mentioned, the harsh red card to Alhadhur all but ended the game as a contest.
Just before the hour mark N'Gog struck. Remy Riou's poor goal kick went straight to Gaetan Charbonnier, the forward played a first-time ball in behind the defence and N'Gog was onto it in flash.
One-on-one with the 'keeper, the former Le Havre man wasn't going to pass this chance up, slotting past the embarrassed Riou.
Despite having the ninth best home record in the league, it was their first win in five at home and amazingly, their first win in the league in 2015. That takes N’Gog up to four for the season, a decent return for the 25-year-old. He has played 21 times, but hasn’t always been first choice.
Before the end of the season, the former Liverpool man will be hoping to get a run of games under his belt and see if he can finish with double figures for the season.