Nice 4-0 Monaco
September 9, 2017
Like last year, the Gym thumped Monaco in a superb Allianz Riviera (4-0). Lead by Super Mario, scorer of a brace, Lucien Favre’s side perfectly negotiated its return to business. And got off on the right foot at the start of what will be three intense weeks.
It was an afternoon that made you lose your head and your heart. The Gym picked up points and confidence. Against its very dear neighbour from Monaco, just as it had done last season at the same period, the sermon seemed to have already been written before the whistle could even be blown, so strong the lack of balance proved to be. Thankfully for the game and for the churchgoers, it was to be the Aiglons who preached the good word in the cathedral of the Plaine du Var. The Monegasque records will have to wait to be beaten and the Red and Whites head back to the Principality “with the same result” as they received on their last visit.
In the absence of Dante, Mika Seri wore the armband and was immense. The Ivorian showed his side the light, and his teammates duly followed. Set-up in a compact 4-4-2, the Aiglons allowed their opponent to put their foot on the ball, played slightly deeper than usual and exploded every time they won the ball back. At the break, this allowed them to have created the better chances and to lead by two goals. The goals which reminded them, that despite the rain, summer still hasn’t left the most beautiful city in the world.
In the 5th minute, in a quick move, Seri played into St-Maximin, starting on the right wing. The former-Monegasque knocked it to Plea first time, who lost his battle with Subasic. But the game continued and the move finally came to an end as Mario was pulled down by Sidibé. The man of derbies, the Italian superhero ensured justice was served, without faltering and he then puffed out his chest in front of his supporters to celebrate his return to the side (1-0, 5’).
Involved, defensively tenacious, the number 9 was at his best for the derby, as always, and the duo that he formed with Alassane Plea, alongside him, seemed to be there to do everything to open up space for the other. “Lasso” the warrior doubled the lead just after 15 minutes. Assisted by an incredible Allan St-Maximin, he put in a 50 metre sprint, then broke into the box, cut back on himself, found himself a gap between Glik and Jemerson and then stoked it past Subasic (2-0, 18’).
The first half-an-hour validated the choices made by Favre and the hard work put in by his players. Applied and serious in defence, driven by an imperious Max Le Marchand (who himself intercepted remarkably with his head to deny Falcao) and reassured by an in-form Cardi, the Gym’s supporters were able to watch on confidently. In attack, Monaco had numerous dead ball situations, but caused no real issues for the Nice goal in the first 45 minutes. Apart from a mistake from Marlon which Diakhaby made the most of, but could only shoot off-target (2’). And the Aiglons, on their side of things, almost widened the gap through Plea (who, in a move which was similar to his goal, missed the target on 35 minutes) and Mario, who rose higher than everyone else at the near post but couldn’t get his header on target (44’).
Rattled, the reigning champion of France came back out after half-time with some fresh faces. Leonardo Jardim replaced his wingers. Lemar made way for Carrillo, who played through the middle and sent Diakhaby out left, then Ghezzal came on to play on the right. Just as they had done in the first-half, the men from the Rock took their place in the Red and Black’s half. In the same way as in the first, they were punished by the Aiglons who were playing above the very thick clouds. On the hour-mark, St-Maximin saw Souquet make a run on the overlap and slid him in. The number two, who put in a superb performance drove the ball along the floor into the middle. Il Signore Balotelli was there at the back-post to tap in smartly to secure his brace, just as he did last year (3-0, 60'). Explosion of the Allianz, implosion of the visitors.
After this final blow, last season’s Champions League semi-finalist fell apart. Split in two. Attacking unconvincingly and defending soullessly.
Applied across the pitch, Nice glided towards its second win of the season in complete serenity. Around at the start of the match but going missing for an hour, the rain started to fall once more. The temperature fell. Carrillo missed the target from 5 metres out with fifteen minutes to go and the choirs were able to go mad.
Especially when Ignatius Ganago, who had only just come on, found space deep in the Monaco half and made no mistake. Perfectly played in by Lees-Melou, the Cameroonian striker tricked Subasic, and finished with his left (4-0 84').
Like last season, the Gym was victorious in its first derby of the season. And put itself in a good place heading into its first game in the Europa League, on Thursday, against Zulte Waregem.
In a sublime manner…
Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 4-0 AS Monaco (2-0 half-time)
Ligue 1 Week 5 - 09/09/2017
Referee: Clément Turpin
Goals: Balotelli (5' pen, 60'), Plea (18'), Ganago (84') for Nice.
Bookings : Jallet (11'), Balotelli (59') for Nice ; Sidibé (5'), Jorge (14') for Monaco
OGC Nice : Cardinale - Souquet, Marlon, Le Marchand, Jallet - St-Maximin (Walter, 79'), Koziello (Mendy, 85'), Seri (cap), Lees-Melou - Plea, Balotelli (Ganago, 73').
AS Monaco : Subasic - Sidibé, Glik, Jemerson, Jorge - Lopes (Carrillo, 46'), Fabinho, Moutinho, Lemar (Ghezzal, 46') - Diakhaby, Falcao (Jovetic, 69') (cap).