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Bad evening

Nice 2-4 Marseille

October 2, 2017

Bad evening

At the end of an evening which started perfectly but that finished with a sour taste the mouth, the Gym stumbled at home against Marseille at the end of the 8th match of Ligue 1 (2-4).

Magnificent, to begin with. What followed was cruel. Just two adjectives are needed to describe this fiery Nice - Marseille. In this battle of neighbours, the Gym began like a dog with a bone, with a mix of energy and bite. But the bone would prove to be solid: and the Gym ended up breaking its teeth.

The Gym’s technique allowed it, in the first instance, to trouble the visitors, demonstrated bu the two goals scored in 15 minutes. The first, coming from Super Mario, who headed home brilliantly from a corner fired in by Lees-Melou (1-0, 4’), then it was Mika Seri.

The Ivorian hit the target with his second long-distance strike, with Rami’s back deflecting the ball and giving it a deceptive trajectory (2-0, 16’).

Set-up in a well-established 4-4-2, the side from the Côte seemed to be unsinkable. They brought the ball out from the back, with the Mendy - Seri duo controlling the game. They were effective down the wings, where Allan St-Maximin brought speed and Lees-Melou fluidity. They were dangerous up-front, with the Balotelli – Plea duo causing problems for Rami and Rolando. In short, the Aiglons seemed destined for success, pushed on by their incredible fans.

They were hit straight in the face, however, by the Marseille boomerang. Without expecting it. With 3 goals that were most definitely avoidable. The first came after a cross from Thauvin wasn’t cleared in the box and Ocampos – alone 6 yards out – smashed home a vicious half-volley (2-1, 26’).

In the moments that followed the opposition’s first goal, Mario flicked on smartly and St-Maximin put in a monstrous sprint but lifted his shot over the bar (38’). The ball flew into the South Stand, and Marseille made the most of it. Unfortunate Malang Sarr, slipped on a trivial ball, Thauvin picked the ball up, moved it, then crossed… and Lees-Melou turned the ball into his own net as he attempted to block with a slide (2-2, 40’). 5 minutes later, the Olympians stole the ball from the feet of Papy Mendy, Luiz Gustavo struck firmly with his left, Cardinale pushed the ball up and Ocampos earned the lead for his side with a header from close-range (2-3, 45’). The Red and Blacks wouldn’t get back into it. 

When it doesn’t want to happen…

Especially as Marseille, set-up in an effective and vertical 4-2-3-1, with Njie and Ocampos taking up the role of “space eaters”, extended its lead at the start of the second period, as Luiz Gustavo – impressive at the breakdown  – read a pass from Dante in the middle, went passed Seri, pushed towards goal without being closed down and buried his effort into the back of Cardinale’s net (2-4, 48’).

Terrible for the Niçois who tried, despite everything, to push on up the pitch. On the hour mark, Super Mario struck a free-kick with his right foot, but Mandanda was equal to it. The scenario repeated itself 10 minutes later, after a foul for which the impetuous Gustavo received a straight red card.

With a numerical advantage, the home side tried to attack but in a disorganised manner, exposing itself to counter-attacks. Rami almost scored an own-goal, but the international keeper prevented the embarrassment for his teammate.

Lucien Favre put on Ganago on the left side, to add some madness to the last 20 minutes. The madness came from the Allan St-Maximin’s right wing. The number 7 obtained a penalty as he was brought down by Sertic. Plea smashed the penalty into Mandanda’s legs. From the resulting corner, the number 30 showed his prowess once more, and the score would remain at 2-4.

Stunned, frustrated, the Gym come out of this derby with the bitterness of a bad evening.

The Aiglons will need to recover and put their ideas back into place to ensure they get off to a good start after the international break.


Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 2-4 Olympique de Marseille (2-3 at half-time)

8th game of L1 - 01/10/2017

32 702 spectators

Referee: Benoît Bastien

Goals: Balotelli (4'), Seri (16') for Nice ; Ocampos (26', 45') Lees-Melou (O.G. 40’), Gustavo (47’) for Marseille 

Cautions: Lees-Melou (32'), Plea (49') for Nice ; Payet (36'), Amavi (61') for Marseille

Red cards: Gustavo (68') for Marseille

OGC Nice: Cardinale - Souquet, Dante (cap), Le Marchand, Sarr - St-Maximin, Mendy (Koziello 90'), Seri, Lees-Melou - Plea, Balotelli.

Olympique de Marseille: Mandanda - Sakai, Rami, Rolando, Amavi - Anguissa, Gustavo - Thauvin (Sertic 70'), Payet (cap) (Sarr 84'), Ocampos - Njie (Germain 72').