Nice 3-0 Vitesse
September 28, 2017
The Gym win again!
On Thursday, the Gym largely dominated Vitesse Arnhem during the second game of the Europa League. Solid, killing the game, the Aiglons put in a superb performance, with great style to boot (3-0).
Professionalism, talent and efficiency. This is the recipe that lead to success in the second game of this season’s Europa League. In one year, the Gym have changed faces, and style. But in one year, the Gym have grown a lot. While they opened last season’s European ball against Schalke 04 with trembling legs, as the Germans took them to task, in 2017/18, it was to be Nice that would dictate the tempo in its first group stage game at home.
Of course, Vitesse didn’t show the same qualities as the huge blue machine had done. For all that, Henk Fraser’s squad, current holder of the Dutch Cup and in-form at the start of this season, couldn’t be taken lightly. The Aiglons approached the game with the seriousness expected of professionals. It was thanks to the poaching nature of Alassane Plea – whose partnership with Super Mario is becoming more refined, enhanced and easy on the eye - that they opened the scoring and got going in the right direction. After a long ball, the number 14 got going and played off against the opponent to gain a corner. Lees-Melou delivered, Dante knocked on and the very same Plea, like a fox, smashed home with his left (1-0, 16’). The ideal start.
Well in place in their 4-4-2, the men from the Côte managed the game on their terms. The defence proved solid, Cardinale was equal to the rare Dutch efforts (strikes from Rashica and Matavz in the first fifteen minutes). In the middle, the return of Mika Seri brought inspiration to the side. The duo formed with Vincent Koziello, who put in an impressive display, gave the side stability. On the left wing, Pierre Lees-Melou was heavily involved. Making the most of a pass from Mario, the former-Dijon man took to the motorway, held off the opponent, then poked the ball towards goal, but Pasveer won the battle and pushed it away (22’). Just before the break, he played in for Mario, whose effort missed the target (40’). A short listing allowing them to get an idea about the appearance of the game.
Dominating, Nice gave itself some leg room just before the break, thanks to a solo run from Allan St-Maximin. Just as he had done at the start of the game - when he shot towards goal only for it to be deflected by Büttner (20') -, the former Monaco forward capped off a great run, like a seasoned pro. After picking up the ball in his own half, he put in a monstrous sprint, took it past two opponents, put the ball onto his right foot and pulled his shot across goal, straight into the back of the net. In a sort of remake of his goal against Waregem (2-0, 45’).
On the other side of things, the Dutch 4-3-3 suffered for most of the game. And always relied on the technique of Milot Rashica, who was direct on the right wing. The number 7 was at the heart of the visitor’s most dangerous chance in the first half. After a quick move, he crossed into the middle, but Souquet closed the door perfectly and Cardi’ was able to pick the ball up calmly.
No more electricity… but gas aplenty!
Anxious to kill off the match from the very beginning of the second half, the Aiglons restarted the game with their foot firmly on the accelerator. They put huge pressure on Vitesse for 5 minutes, before the match was suspended because of a power cut. The Allianz was filled with darkness and both sides were left waiting for a quarter of an hour.
The power cut could have been risky for the Azuréens interrupted in full flight. The Dutch could have seen a stroke of bad luck. But the marvellous free-kick from Thomas Bruns, straight from the restart, smashed against Cardi’s post before being launched away from the Gym’s box (63'). The skies had clearly spoken: the evening would be for the men from the Comté!
After this wake-up call, Nice got going again. Souquet went on the overlap and was brought down in the Dutch box, but the game continued. Then, Mika Seri shot from 25 metres out, but it just went wide (67').
In the last 20 minutes, Coach Favre replaced Balotelli, Seri and St-Maximin with Ganago, Tameze and Srarfi, without doubt having Sunday’s derby in the back of his head. The South continued to provide the noise, never losing the pleasure of seeing an impressive performance from the Aiglons.
Then Alassane Plea put an end to the evening by scoring his 4th goal of the season in the Europa League (his 7th in all competitions). After some smart work with Srarfi, he attacked the box coming out from the middle, then struck firmly towards the near post with his right (3-0, 82').
The “smart performance" became even more positive given the other result of the evening, with Lazio winning in Rome against Zulte (2-0).
With 6 points each, the Niçois and the Italians meet at the Allianz on 19 October, in a battle for the top.
In the meantime, now it is time to recover ahead of Sunday’s derby against Marseille, who were beaten by Salzburg on Thursday (0-1).
Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice - Vitesse Arnhem (3-0 at half-time)
2nd match of L1 - 28/09/2017
15 006 spectators
Referee: Aleksei Eskov
Goals: Plea (16', 82'), St-Maximin (45') for Nice
Bookings: Balotelli (25') for Nice ; Serero (30') for Vitesse.
OGC Nice: Cardinale - Souquet, Dante (cap), Le Marchand, Jallet - St-Maximin (Srarfi 79'), Koziello, Seri (Tameze 72'), Lees-Melou - Plea, Balotelli (Ganago 72').
Vitesse Arnhem: Pasveer - Dabo, Kashia, Miazga, Büttner (Faye 46') - Bruns, Serero (Serero 78'), Foor - Rashika, Matavz, Linssen (Mount 86').