March 15, 2019
Le Gym frustrated by Toulouse once again
Like in their first match this season, Le Gym took the lead against Toulouse. Like in their first match this season, Les Aiglons lacked the chance to put the game to bed and were pegged back in the closing stages of the game, with both sides picking up a point at the start of Week 29 (1-1).
Les Aiglons wanted to continue their strong form at home in order to leave a frustrating derby against Marseille behind them. So they went for it in order to achieve their objectives and put themselves in the best possible position going into the final sprint of the season. Their plan was based on two ideas: push forward to get the goal and remain solid at the back to ensure the victory. Their plan almost worked, which leaves both hope and regrets.
In the first half, the Niçois attacked together, focusing on working the ball down the wings, particularly the right, where the duo of Hérelle (see below) and Atal dominated Gradel and Sylla, with the Toulouse captain forced to defend, suppressing his qualities. Unlike in several recent matches, Le Gym was able to quickly take the lead, when Wylan Cyprien scored a superb free-kick (1-0, 20’). After that, instead of managing the game, Les Aiglons continued to push forward to try to capitalise on their dominance.
Cyprien – once agin – smashed another free-kick against Goicoechea’s bar, just three minutes after the opener.
Saint-Maximin saw his attempt blocked by a Toulouse head just before the 30-minute mark, as the Téfécé really began to doubt. From a training ground move starting with Benitez and a couple of risky passes, Hérelle played in Atal, and the Algerian international ended the move with a powerful strike which was boxed away by the goalkeeper.
The very same Atal had another chance before the break, after a counter started by Saint-Maximin… In short, Nice clearly dominated the first half of the match, but never managed to put the game beyond doubt, and an impressive save from Benitez immediately before half-time (after a shot from Sangaré) proved that there was still a danger in this one. What followed only served to confirm that.
In the second half, Toulouse kept the ball and played high up the pitch. Nice sat back and looked to the two wingers, Saint-Maximin and Atal, to cause problems.
The two combined regularly, but they lacked that little something to convert two opportunities (one each) on the break. A numerical advantage wasn’t enough to get a goal twenty minutes from the end, and Le Gym sat back to secure the three points. What had worked so well on so many occasions this season didn’t work this evening: TFC got the equaliser through Mubele in the 89th minute, after a goalmouth scramble in the box.
Coach Vieira’s choices
Patrick Burner picked up an injury during the warm-up, so Patrick Vieira made a bold decision in his starting eleven: he decided to continue with his 4-3-3, playing Boscagli on the left, Dante and Sarr through the middle and moving Hérelle out to the right.
The centre back, who came through the ranks at Sochaux, rose to the occasion. Defensively, he marked Gradel out of the game, dominating his battles with the Ivorian and covered in behind the centre backs perfectly. In attack, he constantly supported Atal, who started on the wing, and they made up an impressive pairing. In-front of the solid back four, the trio of Tameze-Cyprien-Danilo brought balance. Up-front, Makengo started through the middle, with Saint-Maximin on the left.
Pierre Lees-Melou was a straight swap for Adrien Tameze after an hour. Ihsan Sacko took the place of JV Makengo on the left wing. And finally, Bassem Srarfi replaced Allan Saint-Maximin for the final 10 minutes, with the Tunisian playing on the left wing and Sacko through the middle.
20’ Wylan Cyprien, 30 metres from the Toulouse goal, takes a deep breath and beautifully strikes towards goal. His strike which floated towards goal moved at the final moment and beat Goicoechea.
89' Firmin Mubele, like a fox. Having only just come on, the forward made the most of a mix-up at the back to equalise. His effort was deflected but ended up in the back of the net.
Man of the Match
Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 1-1 Toulouse FC (1-0 at half-time)
Week 29 of L1 - 15/03/2019
14 402 spectators
Referee: Olivier Thual
Goals: Cyprien (21') for Nice; Mubele (89') for Toulouse.
Yellow cards: Sylla (24') for Toulouse
OGC Nice: Benitez - Burner, Hérelle, Dante (cap), Sarr - Tameze (Lees-Melou 64'), Cyprien, Danilo - Atal, Makengo (Sacko 68'), Saint-Maximin (Srarfi 79').
Toulouse FC: Goicoechea - Amian, Shoji, Jullien, Sylla (Moubandjé 46') - Sidibé (Durmaz 70'), Sangaré - Dossevi, Garcia (Mubele 87'), Gradel (cap) - Sanogo.