Super Eagles winger Moses Daddy-Ajala Simon was in irresistible form for Nantes despite their 4-3 loss to fellow Ligue 1 side Lyon in the Coupe de France on Saturday.
The Nigerian who made the switch to the Stade de la Beaujoire on a season-long loan from La Liga side Levante in the summer had a hand in all three Nantes goals setting up two and scoring the third as Christian Gourcuff’s men exited the competition in the round of 32.
Playing in front of their home fans, Nantes paid for their sluggish start and were put to the sword by promising 16-year-old attacker Rayan Cherki who scored twice to put Lyon 2-0 up inside nine minutes.
Moses Simon set up Renaud Emond to halve the deficit in the 16th minute but Nantes were 3-1 down eight minutes before half-time as the effervescent Cherki teed up Martin Terrier to score.
Lyon were simply too much for Nantes despite Simon’s effort and the visitors made it 4-1 in the 69th minute when Moussa Dembele who had missed a penalty a minute earlier, ran on to an exquisite through ball from Cherki and rounded the keeper before slotting home.
The 24-year-old Simon led an unlikely calvary charge late on and set up Imran Louza in the 82nd minute before scoring his side’s third to put Nantes within two goals of their opponents.
But the comeback couldn’t materialise as Lyon held on to progress to the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Lille also progressed to the next round of the competition after red-hot 21-year-old Nigerian forward Victor Osimhen came off the bench to inspire them to a 2-0 win at fifth division side Gonfreville.
Christophe Galtier had elected to field a one-man attack led by French forward Loic Remy but with the visitors posing difficult to prise open, Osimhen, Lille’s top scorer this season was sprung from the bench to devasting effect.
Remy broke the deadlock in the 69th minute just eight minutes after Osimhen’s introduction and the Nigerian made sure of the results two minutes into added time with his 15th goal of an incredible debut season for the Great Danes.