Rennes 0-1 Nice
September 17, 2017
The Aiglons earn back-to-back victories
In Brittany, the Aiglons secured a third win in eight days as the earned victory thanks to a bullet strike from Mario Balotelli. After dominating the first period, the Red and Blacks struggled after the break but were able to make the difference thanks to a moment of genius from their Italian striker.
Exactly one year ago, Mario Balotelli started his Aiglons adventure with a brace against Marseille. Following the encounter, in which the Italian played the full 90 minutes, Lucien Favre was asked about the opportunity of leaving a player lacking fitness on the pitch for 90 minutes. "It’s Mario, even tired, with a half-chance, he can score an impossible goal". One year has gone by, but the comment from the Nice coach was just as relevant on Sunday in Roazhon Park as it was last year. At a time when his side was struggling, in which they were dropping deeper and deeper, Balotelli offered the three points to the Gym with a goal which characterises him: relaxation, power, precision.
Before Super Mario’s bullet, the Gym had shown two sides of itself. The first, in the first-half, was seductive. The ‘Nice style’, so praised in French football, was on show under the drizzling rain in Brittany. Organised in the 4-4-2 which had taken apart both Monaco and Zulte Waregem, with returns for Marlon and Koziello to the eleven, Lucien Favre’s side recited their parts. Movement, moves as threes, overlapping. There was, however, a lack of commitment and precision with the final ball that could lead to a goal in what was a promising first period. Saint-Maximin could have beaten the Czech keeper but was denied by an incorrect offside decision (18'). The Rennes keeper was called into action ten minutes later when a cross from Jallet just was too far in front of Plea (30'). It was his talent that spoke just moments later, with an impressive save to deny Plea after the forward had controlled well before striking towards goal (31').
Upon their return from the dressing rooms, the Aiglons found themselves in greater difficulty. An unfortunate constant at the start of this season. The lively Rennes forwards, Ismaïla Sarr being the first, put their foot on the accelerator and earned three corners in the first five minutes of the second-half. Yoan Cardinale dealt with an effort from Amalfitano (52'). Despite the domination of the home side, the Nice keeper, was rarely troubled. The reason, in the first instance, you would need to highlight the solidity and calm head of young Brazilian Marlon, who enjoyed what is only his second appearance for the Gym. Confidence, lucid at the breakdown, the player on loan from Barcelona, dealt perfectly with Sarr, Khazri or even with the arrival of Mubélé.
And it was maybe at the moment that the Gym least expected that they would go on to score. On a counter-attack, Balotelli was assisted by Alassane Plea, selfless as ever. Without panicking, the Italian put the brakes on and fired towards Koubek’s goal and the Czech stopper could only watch as the ball flew past him. With the mission accomplished, the striker was able to make way for Ganago, and the Gym shut-up shop. A final free-kick from Bourigeaud in the dying moments of the game put the Aiglons on-edge, but Souquet’s header in the wall allowed the Gym to travel home with three points and to take their place in the top half of the table.
Rennes, Roazhon Park,
Stade Rennais 0-1 OGC Nice (half-time 0-0)
6th game of L1 - 17/09/2017
25 000 spectators approx.
Referee: Nicolas Rainville
Goals: Balotelli (80') for Nice
Bookings: Prcic (35') for Rennes ; Saint-Maximin (45'), Jallet (49'), Seri (69'), Lees-Melou (85'), Souquet (90'+3) for Nice
Stade Rennais: Koubek - Traoré, Gnagnon, Bensebaini, Baal - Bourigeaud, Prcic, André (cap. ; Lea-Siliki, 86'), Amalfitano (Maouassa, 77') - Sarr, Khazri (Mubele, 59')
OGC Nice: Cardinale - Souquet, Marlon, Dante (cap.), Jallet - Saint-Maximin (Walter, 90'+1), Koziello, Seri (Mendy, 71'), Lees-Melou - Plea, Balotelli (Ganago, 83')