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An almost perfect scenario

Nice 1-1 Nantes

May 11, 2019

An almost perfect scenario

So close to picking up the victory after a suspenseful end to the game, Les Aiglons were forced to content themselves with a share of the points against a solid Nantes side (1-1). A score which perfectly reflected the way the game went, with both sides dominating a half each.

The features

In fine form heading into the match (five consecutive victories) on the Côte d'Azur, Les Nantais showed what we have come to expect: a team that is extremely difficult to manage. Strong in midfield (65% of duels won in the first half), sharp in attack and solid at the back, Vahid Halilodzic’s men dominated the first half of the game.

From only the third minute of the match, a header from Diego Carlos sent a shiver around the stadium. In the 12th minute, a cross-shot by Fabio found Coulibaly, alone in the box. Thankfully, the Malian wasn’t able to get onto the end of the delivery. Then, on two occasions,  Moussoutamy showed his ability, but he pulled his shot a touch too much (15’), then cleverly flicked the ball on for Limbombé, who was unable to convert (25’).

Restless Niçois

Up against them, Les Niçois were unusually restless. At the back particularly, as shown by a pass from Dante back to Benitez which so nearly went wrong (14’), but equally up-front, where the team’s attacking choices were rarely successful. The home fans had to wait until the 26th minute to see their side’s first effort of the match, but Dante put too much onto his header after Lees-Melou’s corner. 

And an emerging Mou Toussamy...

Three minutes later, the visitors were rewarded for their dominance. Lying in wait for the ball in the box, after Dante challenged Limbombé, the lively Moutoussamy found the opener (0-1, 29’). Although Les Aiglons showed a certain reaction in the fifteen minutes that followed, they still lacked an amount of spontaneity (Le Bihan, 44’).

2nd half: A completely different Nice side

After the break, Le Gym were unrecognisable from the side that had played in the first half. More incisive, Les Aiglons found their opportunity from dead ball situations. Pierre Lees-Melou planted the ball onto Dante’s head, but the Brazilian was just a bit too short to readjust his header to get it on target (50’). From an identical position out on the left wing just five minutes later, PLM provided the goods once more. Arriving like a missile at the back post, Sarr made no mistake and found the back of the net (1-1, 55’).

Just before the hour mark, a crazy couple of minutes ensued, during which both sides hit the woodwork. It was Saint-Maximin who hit the post first. After an excellent break into the box, ASM struck firmly along the floor. Then Coulibaly copied him, but this time, a huge miss, given that he was unmarked in front of an open goal after Limbombé’s cross.

Match point opportunity for Atal 

Patrick Vieira’s side upped the pressure at the end of the game, thanks notably to the arrival of the highly energetic Srarfi/Sacko duo. But the Nantes defence was able to hold firm on every occasion. Until the final minute of injury time, when Youcef Atal beat his man and was felled in the box for a penalty. Unfortunately, the Algerian didn’t convert from the spot, and Maxime Dupé was able to push away. 

Coach Vieira’s choice

At kick-off, Patrick Vieira decided to continue with a 4-3-3 with nine of the 11 starters from the Parc des Princes last weekend (1-1 against PSG).

The first change concerned the defence. The suspended Burner, was replaced by Andy Pelmard, for just his third start in the top flight. Starting on the right of the back four, the Nice-born defender (19 years old) played alongside Dante, Christophe Hérelle and Malang Sarr.

In midfield, Les Aiglons’ coach stuck with the Lees-Melou - Tameze - Danilo trio.

The other change was enforced up-front. With Ignatius Ganago unavailable (calf injury), Mickaël Le Bihan returned to the starting eleven for his first start in L1 since 23 April 2017 (1-1 in Toulouse). The number 10 was flanked by Youcef Atal and Allan Saint-Maximin.

After the break, the Nice coach sent on Bassem Srarfi to replace Pelmard. The Tunisian took to the right wing of the attack, with Sacko replacing Le Bihan (72’), before JV Makengo came on for Danilo (79’).

The goals

28’ Coulibaly played Limbombé through the middle. Dante challenged the Belgian, but Moutoussamy followed in well. The forward beat Pelmard’s tackle and finished into the open net.

55' Le Gym won a free-kick out on the wing. Lees-Melou beautifully placed the ball onto Malang Sarr’s head at the back post and the defender found the back of the net - his second ever goal in Ligue 1.

Aiglon of the match

F.H.

Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 1-1 FC Nantes ( 0-1 at half-time)

Week 36 of L1 - Saturday 11 May 2019

16 372 spectators

Referee: Stéphanie Frappart

Goals: Sarr (55’) for Nice; Moutoussamy (29’) for Nantes.

Yellow cards: Atal (81'), Srarfi (86') for Nice; Fabio (49'), Girotto (62'), Traoré (78') for Nantes

OGC Nice: Benitez - Pelmard (Srarfi 46'), Hérelle, Dante, Sarr -  Tameze, Lees-Melou, Danilo (Makengo 79') - Saint-Maximin, Atal, Le Bihan (Sacko 72').

FC Nantes: Dupé, Fabio, Diego Carlos, Pallois, Traoré, Rongier (Evangelista 90+2'), Girotto, Touré, Limbombé (Boschilia 76'), Coulibaly, Moutoussamy (Lima 85').