By FELIX MALUNGA –
CHIPOLOPOLO defender, Stoppila Sunzu at the weekend scored his first goal in the French Ligue 1 which proved enough to give struggling FC Sochaux-Montbeliard a 1-0 victory over FC Nantes at the Stade Bonal.
Sochaux, lying second from the foot of the table, defied the Ligue 1 form book in claiming only their third league triumph of the season. The weekend’s win over Nantes was just the second in 13 Ligue 1 matches for Sochaux under former Zambia coach, Herve Renard.
Sunzu opened his French account on the stroke of half-time when he superbly knocked a thumping header past Nantes goalkeeper, Remy Riou.
The towering Zambia defender found some acres of space and rose high to meet a Sebastian Roudet free-kick.
Apart from scoring, Sunzu, who recently had a goal disallowed, also managed to make a brave block on 70 minutes to deny Nantes a chance of crawling back into the game.
This was Sunzu’s fifth successive game for Sochaux where he has played the full 90 minutes since his move from DR Congo side, TP Mazembe recently.
Chipolopolo striker, Emmanuel Mayuka also started for Sochaux before being substituted later in the second half while midfielder, Nathan Sinkala was suspended as he completed his three match ban. Ghanaian forward, Jordan Ayew, who is on loan from Olympique Marseille, had Sochaux’s best chance in the second half to double the lead but Riou managed to keep his shot away.
Saturday night’s victory was a good build up to Sochaux who drew 1-1 with AC Ajaccio a week ago.
And Renard said the weekend victory showed that there was still hope for Sochaux to avoid relegation but emphasised the need for the team to continue working hard ahead of the next game against Lille. ”The match was far from a high quality performance. It was obviously far from the quality of a PSG versus Bordeaux match, but we showed our qualities with selflessness and solidarity. This success allows us to view the future with a little ray of sunshine.
“This confirms that there is still a little hope. I feel that some teams begin to have doubts. We know very well that it is never easy to recover your confidence. Now we are going to continue to work hard as we have a big game waiting for us at Lille,” Renard told reporters after the match.
Despite the victory, Sochaux remain rooted in the bottom three and are still seven points from safety while Nantes fell seven points off the top-four race.
From the 23 games played, Sochaux have managed 15 points, four clear of rock-bottom Ajaccio while Nantes slipped to eighth on the log on 33 points.
Meanwhile, Chipolopolo defender Davies Nkausu made a winning debut for Bloemfontein Celtic in a 2-0 win over Free State Stars in the South Africa Absa Premier Soccer League on Saturday night.