Kadewere finally on target
Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
OLYMPIQUE Lyon manager Peter Bosz has thrown his full weight behind Zimbabwe international Tino Kadewere to rediscover his best form after the forward opened his goal-scoring account in the French Ligue 1 football at the weekend.
Kadewere, who has been used sparingly this season following an injury-inspired dip in form, finally broke the jinx in front of goal when he secured an away point for Lyon in the 1-1 draw at Lens on Saturday night.
Unlike last season when he had a flying debut in the French Ligue 1, the Zimbabwean had come under intense criticism as he could not replicate the form that made him an instant hit in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
Kadewere was given his second start in Lyon’s opening 25 games of the season on Saturday and has also made six substitute appearances as a bit-part player.
The 26-year-old has been linked with an exit from Lyon and getting linked to several clubs in France and England. But Lyon manager Bosz has always kept confidence in the player despite his woes and believes the goal on Saturday will open the doors for more success.
“We always want to win. The start of the match was tough, but the second half was better. The draw is deserved. We are progressing. Lens were aggressive and pressed hard. This goal can be a release for Tino Kadewere. I’m happy for him.” Bosz.
Kadewere found the back of the net in the 44th minute after getting to the end of a cross by Cameroonian Karl Toko-Ekambi. Lyon were trailing 0-1 after they had gone down to a 13th minute strike by Jonathan Clauss.
They are still within distance of a UEFA League spot despite falling from the fifth and final European place in the log standings with the draw.
“It was a difficult match. We took a point, but we need more. We knew it was not going to be easy playing in this stadium. We have to stay focused for the next games. I’m happy to have scored; I’m regaining confidence.” Kadewere said after the match.
The Zimbabwean played 76 minutes and could have also ended the game with a crucial assist had teammate Lucas Paqueta been clinical from his pass late on.
“The start of the game was difficult for us,” Bosz said.
“Lens played aggressively and pressed us well. Lucas Paqueta could’ve won us the game late on but a draw’s a fair result. We’re on the right track even if we’re not completely satisfied — Lens are a direct competitor and it was an important match.
“If you can’t win, it’s important not to lose. In the first half of the season, we dropped 12 points in the last 15 matches. In Lens, against a good team with a vociferous support, this is a good point.”
With four wins in the last five matches, including a fine performance against Nice, Lyon had clearly gotten back on track.
But a hectic schedule would give no respite, as big matches with sides from the top half of the table followed one after another. This trip to Lens, who came into the match one point behind, was again of great importance.
Kadewere was in the starting eleven to replace suspended Moussa Dembele. The Zimbabwean is now in his second season at Lyon after sealing a £12 million move in 2020 from Ligue 2 side, Le Havre. He had a promising start in Ligue 1 scoring 10 goals in 33 appearances last season.
In England, another Zimbabwean striker, Admiral Muskwe, was in Luton Town’s starting line-up as they returned to winning ways in the Sky Bet English Championship, beating West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
After a quiet first half, Cameron Jerome rose highest from Kal Naismith’s free-kick to give Town the lead ten minutes after the restart.
As the game entered the closing stages, Allan Campbell added a second for the Hatters, finding the top corner with a fantastic effort. Nathan Jones made four changes from last Saturday’s trip to St Andrew’s. Jed Steer replaced James Shea in goal to make his first league appearance, with Gabe Osho also coming into the starting line-up. Muskwe and Cameron Jerome went into Town’s attack, supporting Elijah Adebayo.