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The Gym weren’t at the races

Nice - Strasbourg

October 22, 2017

The Gym weren’t at the races

Lacking inspiration, the Gym were caught out by a brave Strasbourg side during their 10th game of  L1 (1-2).

There are days when it works and there are others when it doesn’t. This Sunday afternoon game unfortunately fell into the second category of encounters. Lacking punch and aggressiveness, the Aiglons stumbled against a side of Strasbourgeois fulfilling these two virtues, fighting for survival with the right quality and spirit.

During this 10th L1 encounter of the season, Lucien Favre tried, however, to change the ingredients in order to try to find their form. He set his side up in a 4-3-3 at the start of the game, in which Srarfi played on the right, St-Maximin on the left and Plea through the middle. He placed extra men in the middle (Koziello, Mendy, Lees-Melou) to try to dictate the tempo, but inspiration was lacking during the clash. During the first 45 minutes, the Strasbourgeois dominated the proceedings and created the better chances. They were able, in the first 45 minutes, to dig deep in order to keep their lead.

After a shot that flew over from Liénard (20’), they took the lead through a lucid attack. A change of wing, control from Gonçalves, played into a withdrawn Lala, who crossed with his first touch and found Da Costa who finished perfectly (0-1, 23’). Shaken up, the Gym were almost quickly punished by the Alsaciens.

Da Costa and Martin were denied by a concentrated Cardinale (29’ and 35’), Terrier missed the target following a lightning fast counter attack (31’), and a bad feeling filled the air to the west of the city. A bad feeling which could only been cancelled out through a strong reaction… The reaction would prove to be too feeble.

The Aiglons created a couple of half chances during the first half of proceedings, but the general output proved too weak to be able to reverse the lead. Which opportunities were these? St-Maximin, played in on the right side, crossed powerfully for Lees-Melou, who didn’t manage to convert the opportunity (33’). Then Dante put the ball in behind the defence, and the very same St-Maximin controlled a difficult ball and took Kamara out of the game, but was eventually denied by the keeper (36’). A keeper who was called upon to deny Plea’s header, which originated from a one-touch cross from Lees-Melou (43’).

Despite the numerical advantage…

Sensing that the match was going to escape his side, the Swiss coach tried to force things from the very start of the second half. He brought on Wesley Sneijder to replace Bassem Srarfi and switched into a 4-4-1-1, putting the Dutch star at the tip, St-Maximin on the right and PLM on the left. The effects of this change were felt straight away, as the number 10 crossed smartly, but Plea wasn’t able to finish correctly (47'). But after this skirmish, Racing got another break. Successful in their duals in the middle, Terrier played in Da Costa behind a high Nice line. Da Costa then escaped the defenders to get a quick and lucid brace (0-2, 49’).

From that point on, they would now need character and a bit of luck to get back into the game. These two phenomena appeared on the pitch, but soon disappeared. Plea beat his man, crossed, Seka held back St-Maximin in the box. Mr Rainville pointed to the penalty spot and sent off the Strasbourg defender. Lees-Melou stepped up and took on his responsibilities and strongly struck the penalty down the middle (1-2, 54’).

Back into the match and with a numerical advantage, the Azuréens pushed on to try to cancel out the Strasbourg lead. Plea, set-up by St-Maximin, could only find the legs of Kamara (57'). After a superb move and shot from Sneijder’s left, the opposition’s keeper proved, once again, too strong.

He pushed away the effort from the former Inter man, then once again from an effort from Plea, and then saw a second effort from the number 14 fly over (60'). The home side’s push would only last 10 minutes. After that, Thierry Laurey brought density to his side’s block (Foulquier came on for Da Costa and Grimm for Martin) to help hold on to the 3 points. After a fast counter, Terrier missed a chance to put the game to bed, when he pulled his shot just too much (80'). 

Camped in the blue half, Nice couldn’t manage to get past their opposition to get the draw. Despite a final attempt from Sneijder who missed the target.

The Gym leave the ground on Sunday with a bitter taste in their mouths, but will need to lift their heads quickly, given that a trip to the Parc des Princes awaits them on Friday.

C.D.

Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice  1-2 RC Strasbourg (0-1 at half-time)

10th match of L1 - 22/10/2017

23 595 spectators

Referee: Nicolas Rainville

Goals: Lees-Melou (54', pen.) for Nice ; Da Costa (23', 49') for Strasbourg.

Cautions: Liénard (58') pour Strasbourg.

Red Cards: Seka (54')

OGC Nice : Cardinale - Souquet, Marlon, Dante (cap), Jallet - Koziello (Lusamba 69'), Mendy, Lees-Melou - Srarfi (Sneijder 46'), Plea, St-Maximin (Mahou 80'). 

RC Strasbourg : Kamara - Lala, Salmier, Koné (cap), Seka - Gonçalves, Aholou, Liénard - Martin (Grimm 82') - Terrier (Sacko 86'), Da Costa (Foulquier 74').