August 18, 2018
Le Gym earn first point
Trailing to controversial penalty early in the second half, Nice fought back and earned their first point of the new Ligue 1 season courtesy of Ganago’s late header for a 1-1 draw away to Caen.
First impressions can be deceiving… That was certainly the case at the Stade Michel D’Ornano on Saturday night when, after just three minutes, Allan Saint-Maximin beat Paul Baysse and cut the ball back to Pierre Lees-Melou whose crisp half-volley was saved by Samba. However, this excellent first impression proved something of the exception. In the end, it was heart and courage that saw the side from the Côte d’Azur get their first point of the campaign.
The first half quickly became a midfield battle, which was exactly what the home side wanted. And it suited Nice in the second half too, as Les Aiglons adapted to the situation.
However in the first half, with both sides turning out in matching 4-3-3 formations, Patrick Vieira’s side committed too many technical mistakes to control the game and impose their style.
During this tough opening, Yoan Cardinale was called into action more than once. The visitors got their first scare when Tchokounté’s header was unintentionally handled by Hérelle in the box… The referee, Mr Wattelier pointed to the corner flag (27’). From the resulting set piece, Baysse thought he’d opened the scoring with a header, only for the referee to award a free-kick against the former Gym captain (29’). Baysse then saw his header brilliantly saved onto the post by Cardi’ and could only watch as the ball rolled back along the goal line before being saved again by the Nice ‘keeper (31’).
After weathering the storm, Le Gym slowly came back into the game, rediscovering its passing game and a certain solidity at the back.
Building on from an excellent passage of play from Danilo Barbosa (sombrero – acceleration – shot - 33’), Les Aiglons started playing higher up the pitch and enjoyed the first sightings on goal since the opening exchanges. Tameze headed Cyprien’s corner wide (35’), as did Burner’s shot (39’), starting in place of the injured Atal (hamstring) at right-back. Cardi’ then made a comfortable save from a long-range effort from Fajr (44’) as the half-time whistle sounded.
GANAGO IS BACK
The second half began with a bang! Or rather, a whistle! Hérelle (excellent throughout) was battling with Tchokounté, when the referee awarded a desperately harsh penalty to the home side, converted by Bammou (1-0 51'). Patrick Vieira reacted immediately, bringing on Ganago for Burner, and moving Tameze to right-back, bringing Lees-Melou back into the middle and moving Saint-Maximin (who had started in the central attacking role) out to the wing. It worked straight away, but Samba was equal to the efforts from Maolida and Cyprien (60', 63').
Despite the saves, Les Rouge et Noir kept coming and dominated the final minutes. PLM shot tamely (71'), but the came couldn’t be said of Ganago’s header! Like last week with the reserves, the Cameroonian provided the difference in the final half an hour, sending an unstoppable header from Boscagli’s superb cross inside the far post to score the second Ligue 1 goal of his career (1-1, 82').
Armougoum missed his chance to claim all three points for Caen (84'), as Les Niçois threw every last ounce of energy into looking for the first win of the season.
It wasn’t to be, but the endeavour, and the come-from-behind draw still showed plenty of character.
And that bodes well for the future...
In Caen, Stade Michel-D'Ornano,
SM Caen 1-1 OGC Nice (Half-time: 0-0)
Ligue 1 – Week 2 - 18/08/2018
18,000 spectators approx.
Referee: Eric Wattelier
Goals: Bammou (C) pen. 51', Ganago (N) 83'
Bookings: Bammou (C) 21', Hérelle (N) 50', Makengo (N) 76', Imorou (C) 81'
SM Caen: Samba - Guilbert, Baysse, Djiku, Imorou - Fajr, Oniangué, Peeters (Deminguet 68') - Bammou (Crivelli 74'), Tchokounté (Armougom 80'), Ninga.
OGC Nice: Cardinale - Burner (Ganago 58'), Hérelle, Dante (cap), Boscagli - Tameze, Danilo (Makengo 73'), Cyprien - Lees-Melou, Saint-Maximin, Myziane (Sarr 90').