Caen 1-1 Nice
November 19, 2017
Difficult to take
Leading the score after a controlled first half, the Gym could and should have taken the points in Normandy but conceded in the last moments of the game from one of many long balls sent forward by Caen.
There were only 30 seconds left to play. For more than ten minutes, the Gym had been managing their lead and moving the ball around cleanly and could have even killed off the game if it hadn't been for numerous saves by Rémy Vercoutre. After ten difficult minutes, they took the game by the scruff of the neck, took the lead through Lees-Melou and held on at the start of the second half as Caen pushed on. But there we go. A careless lost ball in the Caen half, poor positioning and another long ball into the box from the Malherbistes which was acrobatically converted by Ronny Rodelin. For the Aiglons, these two lost points at the end of added time are difficult to take. After the hard-fought win against Dijon to stop the rot, we had been believing for a long time that the Red and Blacks were going to get a big win from Matchday 13 and to get themselves – finally – into the top half of the table.
Returning to the squad, Mika Seri started on the bench. It's was the Mendy – Tameze pair who started the fixture, with a Nice side organised in a 4-2-3-1. In goal, Lucien Favre kept confidence in Walter Benitez. The first minutes of the game demonstrated their opposition's intentions. A direct style pushing forward for the Normans. The Gym struggled, conceded several corners, but the duo of Dante - Le Marchand was dominant in the air. Benitez was well-placed to prevent Santini (9'), whilst his counterpart Vercoutre was equal to two tame efforts from Lees-Melou (7') and Plea (13'). As the clock ticked on, the Gym imposed their rhythm on the game, with Wesley Sneijder as the metronome. The Dutch international created an incredible opportunity for Plea, who did superbly... but only to see his effort hit the post and bounce out (23').
After a vicious strike from Sneijder pushed away by Vercoutre (34'), the Gym took advantage of their domination. Papy Mendy opened up on the left for Lees-Melou, Plea flicked on with his head. The former Dijon man dummied to beat Vercoutre and buried it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season (0-1, 40').
The return from the dressing rooms was similar to the start of the game. Caen put its foot on the accelerator, and the Gym struggled to get out of its last 30 metres. From a ball given away by Souquet, Bazile was one-on-one with Benitez, took it past the Argentine but was too far wide to be able to hit the target with his strike (53'). The Nice keeper showed his ability as Rodelin hit the target from a free-kick (57'), before proving decisive once again in the 65th minute when he denied Santini from the penalty spot (handball from Jallet in the box).
The end of the match drew nearer and the home side dropped off physically. The Gym, with the arrival of Seri and a masterful performance from Sneijder, moved the ball about better and hit on several precise counter-attacks. But the Dutchman from a free-kick (84'), Lees-Melou (89') and Plea (90+1) all found an imperious Rémy Vercoutre. Before that cruel 93rd minute...
Caen, Stade Michel d'Ornano,
SM Caen 1-1 OGC Nice (half-time 1-1)
Matchday 13 in L1 - 19/11/2017
15 000 spectators approx.
Referee: Sébastien Desiage
Goals: Rodelin (90'+3) for Caen ; Lees-Melou (40') for Nice
Bookings: Sankoh (25'), Djiku (82') for Caen; Tameze (55'), Benitez (75'), Plea (78') for Nice
SM Caen: Vercoutre - Genevois, Da Silva, Djiku, Mbengue - Kouakou (Nkololo, 73'), Sankoh, Féret, Bazile (Bessat, 69') - Rodelin, Santini
OGC Nice : Benitez- Souquet, Dante (cap.), Le Marchand, Jallet - Mendy (Koziello, 76'), Tameze (Seri, 69') - Walter, Sneijder, Lees-Melou - Plea