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On level terms

Charleroi 2-2 Nice

July 21, 2018

On level terms

At the end of an action packed match, the Gym took home a draw from Charleroi, where they played their 3rd friendly of the summer (2-2).

Is it the country, the philosophy of the opponent or the proximity of the two fixtures? Whatever the answer (or answers), this fixture in Charleroi, in its physical nature, was very similar to the match played at Zulte-Waregem. Without the same stakes and the victory, of course. More efficient, quicker in its passing, and more disciplined, Patrick Vieira’s side made the most of the opponent’s weaknesses to trouble them in the first 45 minutes, before conceding and then taking the lead, before falling to a late equaliser.

The Belgians looked to play, thankfully. The spaces between the lines allowed the men from the Côte to attack quickly and effectively, even if that final piece of quality was lacking.

Patrick Vieira’s starting eleven

Set-up in a 4-3-3, like they were in the two previous matches, Vieira’s side clearly dominated the opening stages of the game. The midfield constantly tried to add pace to the proceedings and Allan Saint-Maximin was a constant danger for the opposition.

Always unstoppable in his duels, the number 7 was equally as accurate in his decision making. Which placed him, at the heart of (nearly) all of the Aiglons’ chances. Except for the first opportunity of the game - a Nice stampede. Under pressure, Lees-Melou found Hérelle, who played it back to Cardi. The goalkeeper, who put in an excellent performance, played along the floor to Dante. The ball was then played to Cyprien, who found Srarfi. Returning from international duty, Bassem broke free and shot towards goal. Unfortunately, his effort was cleared off of the line by a Belgian defender, and he didn’t manage to score with his second chance (15’).

Inspired, ‘ASM’ once again found the Tunisian international just after, but the youngster couldn’t find the target (17). Then the Frenchman played in Cyprien, but with the same result (25’). A free-kick from Cyprien (won by Diaby-Fadiga) went just wide; a one-two between Souquet and Lees-Melou opened up the opportunity for the full-back to strike on goal, but the effort was once again cleared from the line by the Zebra’s defence.

Finally, a header from Hérelle, starting through the middle with Dante, missed the target before the break; just before a shot from Srarfi was superbly turned away by Parfait Mandanda...

This series of chances served to show that the Gym were both dominating, but also lacking that quality to put the ball away.

Defensively, the Gym were first to every set-piece. They were also helped by an excellent piece of covering by Boscagli (28’) and an equally effective effort from Tameze (36’) to close down the quick attacks from the home side.


5 crazy minutes


The start of the second half followed suit. Except for the chances. Nice controlled, but the Carolos showed promise on the counter attack. All of this in an excellent atmosphere created by our neighbors, who didn’t forget to show their post-World Cup frustration during the friendly…

Then, on the hour mark, the home side, who were playing their final friendly before the start of the league, raised the tone. Fresher than the Niçois, they set themselves up in the Nice half, and opened the scoring with an excellent free-kick scored by Romain Grange (1-0, 69'). 

Coach Vieira brought on some fresh blood (with the entrance of Perraud, Sacko and Makengo), and the Red and Blacks tried to bounce back. JV, perfectly assisted by St-Max', saw his header smash against the post (74') and, at that moment in time, you got that feeling that ‘the horse had bolted’.

That idea was wrong. Thankfully. In two minutes, Ihsan Sacko got the sides back on level terms, converting a penalty that was won by Atal (1-1, 88'). Then the former Strasbourgeois picked up his brace with the following move, at speed but with a calm head (2-1, 89'). 

A header from Willems in the final seconds of the game left the sides on level terms and the fans happy (2-2, 90'). 

After a challenging match, the Aiglons will head back to the Comté to continue their work. And to raise the bar. 

Charleroi, Stade du Pays de Charleroi,

Sporting de Charleroi 2-2 OGC Nice (0-0 at half-time)

Friendly 3 - 21/07/2018

2768 spectators

Referee: Sébastien Delferiere

Goals: Grange (69'), Willems (90') for Charleroi ; Sacko (87', pen. 89') for Nice.

Yellow cards: Boscagli (64') for Nice

Charleroi (starting eleven): Mandanda, Marinos, Baby, Hendrickx, Willems, Martos (cap) Ilaimaharita, Gholizadeh,  Dessoleil,  Perbet, Bedia.

OGC Nice: Cardinale - Souquet, Hérelle (Atal 78'), Dante (cap), Boscagli - Lees-Melou (Makengo 69'), Tameze (Walter 88, Cyprien (Danilo 78') - Srarfi (Perraud 60'), Diaby-Fadiga (Scako 69'), Saint-Maximin (Marcel 90').