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A nice breath of fresh air

Nice 1-0 Dijon

November 5, 2017

A nice breath of fresh air

On Sunday, the Aiglons put an end to their dark period, thanks to a penalty converted by Mario Balotelli (39’). They gave themselves a breath of fresh air before the international break and move up to 15th place.

Despite a tense end to the match, the smiles are back. On the front foot from the get go, Lucien Favre’s side did the hard work in the first half, before suffering in the second. The Dijon side had one man to thank as they went in at the break, the excellent Baptiste Reynet. The goalkeeper had rolled out the barbed wire. Between his legs to deny a powerful effort from Christophe Jallet, set-up by Rémi Walter (20’), as well as all the way along his line, as he denied Mario Balotelli, after a cross from Vincent Koziello (8’).

But the Italian ended up the happier of the two at the end of the first period. After a phantom penalty that was first given, then overturned correctly (because of a handball by Alassane Plea) which we accept honestly, the Gym then obtained a deserved one, as Jordan Marié wrapped his arms around the number 14 (39’). Without a hint of nervousness, Balotelli smashed home sending the goalkeeper the wrong way at the same time (1-0).

A deserved reward for a positive first half for the Red and Blacks. Reverting to a 4-4-2 (Plea replaced the injured Sneijder), OGC Nice put all of the right ingredients into the pot. Intensity, movement, combativeness and risk taking in their attacking passes to create openings.

After the break, the picture was only slightly darkened as the Gym allowed the Bourguignons to push forward, especially on the break, to try to trouble Walter Benitez, as soon as the Aiglons’ hold was loosened. A high risk strategy which could be seen upon their return from the dressing room.

Hearts in their mouths

The six consecutive defeats played a role. Weighing down the legs and heads of the players until the last fifteen minutes. Sitting back on their lead, the Aiglons, less calm and accurate in their passing, struggled for a large part of the second half. Sammaritano had the chance to equalise, but couldn’t find the target. And when his teammates did find the target, they could only find Benitez who was equal to every effort.

The 19,000 spectators at the Allianz Riviera had their hearts in their mouths all the way until the final whistle. This could have been avoided by a smart strike from Souquet which was dealt with by Reynet (78’), after Dante had been brought down in the box, and then a strong header from Lees-Melou after Jallet had crossed.

A lack of luck perhaps, the fear of an umpteenth blow was there all the way until the end, as Mario Balotelli received an extremely harsh red card for a rather unspectacular tackle. It will deny him from travelling to Caen, unless the referee relooks at his decision with the benefit of replays, in the same way as he did last year, when he had sent the Italian off incorrectly against Lorient.

Despite being down to ten men, the Gym held on to the victory. A first in over a month. A breath of fresh air for the squad ahead of the international break.

Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 1-0 Dijon FCO (half-time 1-0)

Matchday 12 of L1 - 05/11/2017

18 987 spectators

Referee: Olivier Thual

Goal: Balotelli (39’, pen.) for Nice

Yellow cards: Koziello (47’) for Nice; Xeka (66’) for Dijon

Red card: Balotelli (88’) for Nice

OGC Nice: Benitez - Souquet, Dante (cap), Le Marchand, Jallet - Walter, Koziello (Tameze 76’), Mendy, Lees-Melou - Plea, Balotelli

Dijon FCO : Reynet- Rosier, Yambaré, Djilobodji, Haddadi- Marié (Bahamboula 76’), Amalfitano (Balmont 79’) - Kwon (Abeid 65’), Xeka, Sammaritano- Tavarès