Loan watch: Balogun scores, Akinola at Wembley

Folarin Balogun celebrates scoring for Reims

Folarin Balogun returned to the scoresheet after four games without a goal by opening the scoring from the penalty spot during Reims’ game against Lens.

That was his 19th goal of the campaign, but his side would eventually succumb to a 2-1 defeat. That result would have repercussions for Nuno Tavares’ Marseille, with the defender introduced off the bench in the 65th minute as l‘OM won 3-1 against Angers at the Stade Velodrome. They’re now battling with Lens for the second and final Champions League spot, with PSG set to win the title.

With the season entering the finals weeks, many of our other loanees have been involved in big games, but with differing results. Brooke Norton-Cuffy played all 90 minutes of Coventry City’s Championship play-off semi-final first leg against Middlesbrough, but they couldn’t use home advantage to their advantage as the sides played out a 0-0 draw. The second leg at the Riverside Stadium takes place on Wednesday.

The Championship is where Southampton will be playing next season after they were relegated following a 2-0 defeat to Fulham. Ainsley Maitland-Niles played 82 minutes for the Saints, while Cedric remained on the bench for the Cottagers.

Tim Akinola got the chance to play at Wembley in the National League play-off final, however it ended in heartbreak for the midfielder as his side were defeated by Notts County on penalties after a 2-2 draw. Tim came off the bench with a minute of normal time to play, but the Magpies earned promotion to League Two after a breathtaking game under the arch.

Arthur Okonkwo helped Sturm Graz to a 4-1 win against Klagenfurt to keep them in the hunt to complete a league and cup double this term. They are now just three points behind leaders Red Bull Salzburg with three games to play, whom they face this weekend in a crunch encounter.

Another shot-stopper who enjoyed a good weekend was Ovie Ejeheri who kept his fourth clean sheet in six league games as SJK beat Ilves Tampere in Finland, 

In the Netherlands, Mika Biereth came on for the final nine minutes of RKC Waalwijk’s 2-0 defeat to Utrecht, a result that leaves them ninth in the Eredivise, while in the second tier Nikolaj Moller played an hour of Den Bosch’s 2-2 draw with Almere City which saw them drop to 18th position.

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