Nice 3-1 Metz
December 2, 2017
The Gym back it up with a second win
Three days after the hard-earned win against Toulouse, the Gym beat Metz at the Allianz Riviera (3-1). At the end of matchday 16, the Aiglons are back on the right track and further reassure themselves.
The opportunity to back up Wednesday’s win and to climb up the table was great. Nice took it, on a cold wintery Saturday. In an Allianz in which the atmosphere was hot, not everything was perfect, but the essential things were assured, thanks to goals from Plea, Balotelli and Saint-Maximin, who made up the offensive trio of the 4-3-3 that Lucien Favre concocted at kick-off.
With Tameze holding, Seri and Lees-Melou in front, the decision seemed to be an attacking one and sought to sweep aside the team currently bottom of the table. Metz started in a solid 4-3-3, and played a high line, leaving spaces in behind their back four, but wouldn’t be swept away easily. Quite the opposite, they showed coherence, despite the defeat.
During the first half of the encounter, the Red and Blacks first created several half chances, but the final touch was missing at the end of their impressive team moves. Plea, who was playing down the left and regularly cut inside, didn’t put enough into his first attempt (4’), lifted his second too high (16’). Balotelli, perfectly played in by the number 14, already mentioned, saw his strike with the outside of his right foot turned away by Kawashima (10’) and another with the inside pushed away by the very same keeper (26’). The possession and the probing runs showed promise.
The promise soon became reality, given that the sparks lit and created a nice little fire. From a superb move started by St-Maximin, Souquet did well down the right, broke into the box, took his time, then found a withdrawn Plea. After a first effort which was blocked by Balliu, Plea didn’t panic, controlled the ball and struck across goal with his left in an unstoppable manner (1-0, 26’).
The hard work seemed to have been done. The path towards success was drawn out. A complete lack of concentration, two minutes later, came to wipe out the home side’s lead. Renaud Cohade crossed superbly and found the head of Nolan Roux, who left Benitez with no chance (1-1, 28’). Everything needed to be redone. A couple of long-ranged efforts from the Grenats also proved that the danger wasn’t that far away.
A dangerous strike by Niane, straight after the return from the dressing rooms, which was well dealt with by Benitez, confirmed it. In the same way as when Marlon knocked Roux off balance in the Nice box, but thankfully play continued. Troubled by its visitor, Nice looked to its star to get back into the lead. Whilst he may not have put in his best performance, Super Mario finally secured the win for his side with a free-kick from 25 metres, struck above the wall and the ball was deflected into the back of the net by Niakhate’s elbow (2-1, 56').
The recent complicated period has clearly left certain effects on the side (which will only be left behind them with time and points) and the lead didn’t allow the home side to play “freely”. So the Messins continued to believe in their cause. They attacked in a disorganised manner, but they attacked all the same.
The tension fell away when Allan Saint-Maximin ensured all suspense had disappeared. Played in, the winger battled with Assou-Ekotto and struck with his right. Deflected by the Cameroon full-back’s leg, his strike ended up in the back of Kawashima’s net (3-1, 71').
From then on, the Aiglons were able to see out their second win of the week in a calm fashion. A win which allows them to put further distance between themselves and the danger zone, and to rejoin mid-table (the Gym sit in 12th place on Saturday, before the rest of Matchday 16 continues) and to look ahead of themselves in the table once again.
Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 3-1 FC Metz (1-1 at half-time)
Matchday 16 of L1 - 02/12/2017
16 383 spectators
Referee: Mikael Lesage
Goals: Plea (26'), Balotelli (56'), Saint-Maximin (71') for Nice ; Roux (28') for Metz
Yellow cards: Balliu (38'), Nguette (75') for Metz
OGC Nice: Benitez - Souquet, Marlon, Le Marchand, Jallet - Seri (Koziello 89'), Tameze, Lees-Melou - Saint-Maximin (Srarfi 76'), Balotelli, Plea.
FC Metz: Kawashima - Balliu (Poblete 39'), Rivierez, Niakhaté, Assou-Ekoto - Phillips, Diagne, Cohade (cap) - Dossevi (Nguette 67'), Roux, Niane (Rivière 80').