- Stade Renard FC of Melong defeated Victoria United FC by 2-1 on Saturday to maintain their strong start of the Elite One season
- Victoria United FC made it back-to-back defeat with the 1-2 defeat to their Saturday visitors at the Limbe Centenary stadium
- Stade Renard are top of their pool while OPOPO are in the relegation dogfight after three match days
- David Pagou is experiencing a strong start to life in the Stade Renard with seven points from their opening three games
Victoria United FC of Limbe suffered their second defeat in three MTN Elite One championship games this 2023/23 season in the hands of an amazing David Pagou-guided Stade Renard of Melong on Saturday in Limbe.
Stade Renard duo of Emga Roger and substitute Brice Sindjo scored in either half of the game while Victoria United’s Richmond Nji scored his third goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough to help the host prevent a defeat.
The thousands that turned at the modern Limbe Centenary stadium weren’t disappointed with the quality of the spectacle, though they left unfulfilled that Victoria United lost in their first home game in the top-flight championship in 19 years, and a Southwest side failed to win their first home game in the competition since Njalla Quan Sports Academy in 2014.
Coach Guy Kamguia’s Victoria United lined-up in the regular 4-3-3 system which was matched by a Stade Renard side that built a strong vertebrate of Haschou Kerido, Nkuissi Thomas Legrand, Yesi, and Randin Ngongeh who scored the winner in the last game against Fauve Azur Elite in the previous weekend.
Victoria United enjoyed the best share of possession in the opening moments of the game but Stade Renard looked more dangerous as the hosts kept possession more in their half and were dispossessed on a number of occasions in the final third.
Emga found the back of the Victoria United net after 14 minutes after his long range effort from outside the box to double deflection that wrong-footed the OPOPO keeper.
The goal was a wake up call for Palai and co as they took the game to their visitors through a more varied option of quick breaks on the counter.
The hosts hit the woodwork of Haschou Kerido’s goal before Richmond break into the Stade Renard penalty area to put the ball past the former PWD of Bamenda keeper for the first time this season. The forward’s 41st minute equalizer was his third in three starts this season, adding to the brace in the opening day against Fauve Azur Elite.
The two clubs retired to the changing room on level terms after a frantic 45 minutes Stade Renard could have scored more than once if their finishing was better.
Coach Pagou noted for assembling physical teams from his days at Eding Sport, PWD, Renaissance and Aigle Royal of Menoua made double replacements at the interval, including the introduction of Brice Sindjo in a tactics tinkling move that saw his team switch to 4-4-2 and improved physically. Sindjo and Randin led the lines and created more than in the first segment but poor finishing and good goalkeeping delayed their second goal.
However Sindjo was on hand to score what ended up being the winner in the 77th minute after an interesting passage of play that provided him an inch-perfect ball from a cross into the near post.
Though Victoria United pushed for the equalizer in the final moments and even hit the post, Stade Renard preserved the lead largely thanks to the defensive experience of Nkuissi Thomas Legrand, who was lucky to escape a second yellow after he committed a bookable challenge late on.
The 2-1 win for Stade Renard amounts to seven points in three games – their best start of a top-flight championship season since their promotion in 2016.
OPOPO on their part looks like a far cry from the team that dominated Fauve Azur Elite especially in the first-half of the 2-1 win in the opening day of the championship in Yaoundé.
Victoria United with three points in nine and in the relegation zone in their pool will quickly dust themselves and heard to the West Region.
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