Loan Watch: Balogun makes it 17 for the season

Balogun celebrates against Marseille

Folarin Balogun was again on target at the weekend, bringing up a new milestone in the process.

Our 21-year-old striker, who has been in red hot form for Reims all season, notched his 17th goal of the league campaign on Sunday – becoming the youngest player to that tally in France’s top-flight since Hassan Akesbi in 1956.

He is now one away from matching Glenn Hoddle’s total of 18 Ligue 1 goals for Monaco in 1988/89 – the most in a French season by an Englishman.

Balogun’s early goal wasn’t enough to earn victory for Reims though, as former Gunner Alexis Sanchez scored twice for visitors Marseille to secure a comeback victory for the title-chasers. Balogun so nearly grabbed an injury-time equaliser, but his shot hit the post.

Nuno Tavares played the full 90 minutes for Marseille, who moved to within seven points of leaders Paris Saint-Germain.

Also in France, Nicolas Pepe played the full game up front for Nice in their 1-1 home draw with Lorient.

Elsewhere in Europe, Pabo Mari played the full 90 minutes for Monza as they earned a 1-1 draw at home to Cremonese while Alex Runarsson played 90 minutes for Alanyaspor in their 3-1 defeat to Fenerbahce. Fellow goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo kept a clean sheet in Sturm Graz’s 2-0 win at WSG Tirol.  

Closer to home, Ainsley Maitland-Niles won the last-minute penalty that saw Southampton clinch a 3-3 draw at home to Tottenham in the Premier League. Maitland-Niles was a first-half sub for Jan Bednarek and helped the Saints come from 3-1 down to grab a vital point. Former Gunner Theo Walcott scored one and assisted another, while James Ward-Prowse smashed home the late penalty after Maitland-Niles was fouled by Pape Sarr.

Sambi Lokonga, of course, was ineligible to face us for Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Cedric was a late substitute for Fulham in their FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Old Trafford and in the Championship Marquinhos played the last 20 minutes of Norwich’s goalless draw away to Stoke, while American defender Auston Trusty played all of Birmingham’s 1-0 win at QPR.

Also in the Championship, midfielder Charlie Patino played the first hour of Blackpool’s 4-1 home defeat to Coventry City. Five minutes after he was brought off, full-back Brooke Norton-Cuffy came on for the visitors, to help see out the win for City, who are now three points outside the play-off places.

Omar Rekik came on after just 12 minutes for Wigan away to Watford, and helped his side earn a point at Vicarage Road. Wigan stay bottom of the Championship though, one point behind Patino’s Blackpool.

Further down the pyramid, in League Two, defender Mazeed Ogungbo played 90 minutes for Crawley Town in their 1-0 win away to AFC Wimbledon to move out of the relegation zone.

Finally, in the Dutch Eridivisie, striker Mika Biereth played the final half hour for RKC Waalwijk in their 3-1 defeat to Nijmegen.

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