Lille 1-1 Nice
December 20, 2017
The Gym halted in Lille
Lucien Favre’s side could have secured their fifth consecutive win in Ligue 1 Conforama as a result of their first half performance. But the victory escaped them in the second. They will, however, still be able to spend the holidays in peace thanks to the points that they have picked up in the past couple of weeks.
Half-way through the season, they are back in the top-half of the the table, in 6th place and six points behind Nantes (5th).
On Wednesday evening, they built their lead after adopting the appropriate attitude. An attitude of an eleven, who were without Balotelli due to suspension (and replaced by Srarfi, with Plea playing through the middle) and who had seen two changes (Tameze was replaced by Mendy and Sarr by Marlon), but were just as determined as last Sunday not to drop their heads (Lille after Bordeaux).
To keep the Nordistes in their curent tough patch, the Aiglons refused to allow them any respite. Pressing very high up the pitch to try to pinch the ball and to trouble Maignan. The keeper was called into action by Srarfi (22’) and Seri (43’), and could have conceded the opening goal from Plea who was set-up by the Tunisian following a run from Saint-Maximin which brought back memories of the one at the Stadium (37’).
The keeper would end up beaten, after Bassem Srarfi made a smart break into the opposition’s half just before the break. Alert and inspired, the number 11 made an excellent run from over 40 metres out, before arriving at the edge of the box and putting away his second goal of the season, with a left-footed strike which was slightly deflected by the heel of Soumaoro (0-1, 38’).
Unfortunately, the Niçois committed the error of showing less determination at the start of the second half, rocked by the ironic “olés” addressed at their own side by the Lille fans. Troubled by a devastating counter and after a scramble in the box, they allowed their hosts a way back into the game. And given that they hadn’t “killed off the match”, they found themselves punished by a “bad” knock. El Ghazi, playing as a pivot, benefitted from a cross from Ponce and got in front of Dante to pick up the equaliser in the 68th minute (1-1).
After having lost their thread, it wasn’t easy to get it back and to be able to control the game. At the very least, they needed to conserve the draw, by containing a refreshed Lille side. It wouldn’t be easy, but would eventually prove successful.
At half-time, we almost felt that that the winter break had come to break the Niçois’ rhythm. Forty five minutes later, at the end of what is their 30th official encounter of the season (!), the feeling is naturally less strong. The next ten days will not be turned down. To recharge their batteries and to start 2018 in the right way, now that the Gym are back on the right track and are one of only two clubs in France (with Paris SG) to still be involved across four competitions.
Lille, Stade Pierre-Mauroy
Lille OSC 1-1 OGC Nice (half-time 0-1)
Matchday 19 of L1 - 20/12/2017
20 000 spectators
Referee: Franck Schneider
Goals: Srarfi (38’) for Nice ; El Ghazi (68’) for Lille
Yellow cards: Marlon (54’), Srarfi (61’), Mendy (80’), Koziello (90+2) for Nice ; T. Maia (19’), Ié (44’) for Lille
Lille OSC: Maignan- Malcuit, Ié, Soumaoro, Mendyl- Thiago Mendes, Thiago Maia- El Ghazi (Pepe 78’), Soumare, Luiz Araujo (Ponce 58’)- Benzia
OGC Nice: Benitez - Souquet, Marlon, Dante, Le Marchand - Lees-Melou (Tameze 77), Mendy, Seri (Koziello 87’) - Srarfi (Burner 83’), Plea, Saint-Maximin.