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Bard takes top billing at Nantes

Aiglon of the match

September 13, 2021

Bard takes top billing at Nantes

Solid at the back and dangerous going forward, Melvin Bard's performance at Nantes earned him the Credit Agricole Aiglon of the Match honours (44% of vote) ahead of Walter Benitez (18%) and Kasper Dolberg (9%).

After starting against Lille (0-4), Bordeaux (4-0) and Nantes (0-2), Bard picked up his first Crédit Agricole Aiglon of the Match award thanks to a complete performance that was highlighted by coach Christophe Galtier: "I know him very well because he was being tracked by my former club two years ago. I had a lot of information on him in terms of footage and analyses. Even though he suffered last year, playing only a few games and struggling, he's a player that works a lot. He's well structured both tactically and defensively." The former Lyon man won back possession six times and produced a crucial block to deny Randal Kolo Muani (49').

But that was just Bard doing his day job as he shone at the other end of the pitch too. "Nowadays, a full-back has to defend well and counter-attack very well," said Galtier. "For the first goal, it reminded me a bit of what he did with the France U21s."

His overlapping run gave Calvin Stengs an outlet, and Bard's cross was perfectly delivered for Dolberg to chest the ball home from close range and open the scoring (0-1, 75').

As early as the fourth minute, his diagonal pass provided Hicham Boudaoui with the game's first opening. Only Flavius Daniliuc (73) and Jean-Clair Todibo (72) enjoyed more touches than the Nice number 26, an indication of his involvement in the game. He was also the Aiglon with the most passes in the opponent's half (22). "He's a very well educated, very intelligent guy who understands quickly," said Dante. "He listens and puts in a lot of effort."

NEW CLEAN SHEET FOR BENITEZ, ANOTHER GOAL FOR DOLBERG

Behind Bard, Benitez took second. Though his defence bent, Benitez ensured they didn't break, especially before half-time.

Osman Bukari (10’, 73’), Ludovic Blas (41’) and Sébastien Corchia (73’) were all denied as Benitez maintained his record of not having conceded in the 2021/22 season. Dolberg netted his third goal in three league games, picking up where he left off at EURO 2020 to take third place in the poll.

The number 9's improvised finish broke the deadlock, and he was at the start of the move that led to Andy Delort teeing up Amine Gouiri for Le Gym's second goal (80’, 0-2).