TINO Kadewere has made a storming start to life at Olympique Lyonnais after scoring a quadruple in his first match for the club on Wednesday in a performance that earned the Warriors striker rave views from his coach Rudi Garcia.
By sports reporter
The club, popularly known as Lyon, played a friendly match against a lower division side Swiss club US Port Valais as part of their preparations for a clash against Neymar’s Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in the French Cup final later this month.
They are also set to clash with Christiano Ronaldo’s Juventus in a blockbuster Uefa Champions League round of 16 second leg match early next month.
Kadewere scored four first half goals in the 12-0 hammering of Port Valais, a sixth division side.
Former Manchester United star Mephis Depay added the other four goals, while Toko Ekambi, a striker who recently joined the club from Villarreal in Spain and is expected to fight for the first team jersey with Kadewere, netted a brace.
Mendes and Caqueret were also on the score sheet.
In his post-match analysis, Lyon coach Gracia singled out Kadewere and Depay for praise, saying the two could be the team’s “assets” next season.
“I am satisfied with the seriousness of the players. They respected the opponent. We had to do our best. There is much satisfaction in the performance of Tino Kadewere and the return to action of Memphis. They can be important assets. They did their utmost. They reassured us,” Garcia said.
Kadewere joined the club in January on a four-year deal from Ligue 2 side Le Havre where he had impressed after scoring 20 goals from 24 appearances to land the league’s top goalscorer’s award.
Depay on the other hand, had been out of action for over six months due to an injury, and both started full training with the squad a few weeks ago.
“There is no apprehension on their side. It’s good progress for them. We tried to compensate for the playing times with the last training game we had at the end of last week. We have found a balance in this area. The work was well done. We are happy,” Garcia added. The former Harare City striker was also satisfied with his performance on debut.
“I am very happy with this first game. It’s good to start that way. We have to keep going,” Kadewere said.
Lyon’s official website also heaped praise on the 24-year-old who is expected to lead the team’s attack next season.
“In terms of lessons learnt from this expectably one-sided match, the first interesting thing was the excellent performance of Tino Kadewere, who greatly participated in the festival of goals with a quadruple before the break, the successful returns of Memphis, also a scorer of four goals, and Jeff Reine-Adélaïde, who have put 90 minutes in the legs after their serious knee injuries last December. The state of mind of the group was shown as they increased their efforts throughout the match, as desired by the coach,” the website reported.
Garcia’s side are preparing for a Coupe De La Ligue final clash with PSG on July 31 before travelling away to Juventus a week later for the return leg of their Uefa Champions League quarterfinal.
Lyon carry a 1-0 lead from the first leg that was played at the Groupama Stadium. The club will host Nice tomorrow for their second practice match in preparation for the two big clashes.
PSG on the other hand will also intensify their preparations with a friendly clash against Kadewere’s former side Le Havre on Sunday. The Ligue 1 champions will then wrap their preparations with a game against Saint-Etienne a week before their Cup final showdown with Lyon.
Kadewere is eligible for the two matches against PSG and Juventus and thus the former Prince Edward student will likely rub shoulders with superstars like Ronaldo, Neymar, Mbappé and Ángel Di María.