April 7, 2019
A good afternoon for Le Gym!
A good afternoon for Le Gym as it reigned victorious over Montpellier - a direct competitor for a European place - thanks to a goal from Dante (1-0) and continue to make the Allianz Riviera its fortress. After beating their opponent, Les Aiglons continue their run and keep their ambition alive for the final games of the season.
On Sunday at the Allianz, there was good football, tension, courage, desire and points. In a committed match, Le Gym didn’t manage to put the game to bed, but continually refused to give up its lead. In producing a good performance and putting in the effort, Les Aiglons took the game by the scruff of the neck, and that is undoubtedly the reason that the joy the end of the game was so magnificent. Particularly given the impact that the three points now have on the league table, where Le Gym sit in 7th place, just three points behind Saint-Etienne in fourth.
An average first quarter of an hour, and then a good half an hour pretty much sums up Nice’s first half. Slightly shaken from the get go by MHSC but were able to stand firm thanks to an excellent stop from Benitez, denying Delort’s volley (14’). Le Gym then progressively took control of the game before the break, showing impressive authority in their individual battles. Something that was demonstrated by Lamine Diaby-Fadiga, who was dominated by Hilton at the start of the game, before dominating the veteran as the half went by. With his physical strength, the 18 year old put in an excellent performance up-front. Around him, Le Gym showed positive movement and pace, with an energetic and technical Bassem Srarfi on the right wing being a perfect example of this (after starting on the left).
The home side’s good intentions paid off as they took the lead through Dante, who perfectly finished Cyprien’s free-kick (1-0, 20’). But those good intentions also should have seen them secure the victory. The Niçois had two or three excellent chances before the break, but they lacked lucidity in their final touch. This constant lasted for all of the match...
Making the most of a rapid counter after a Montpellier free-kick, Saint-Maximin, was played in by an excellent Burner, and ate up the 60 metres in front of him, beating Aguilar without looking but pulled his strike too far (27’). The very same Saint-Max’ didn’t put enough on his pass for Diaby-Fadiga, which was also dealt with by Aguilar (helped by his arm, 44’). Cyprien saw an interesting free-kick blocked by the wall and then another shot fly over.
In short, Nice controlled the game but were never out of sight - which a header from Laborde, after being set up by Le Tallec, clearly confirmed (25’).
Les Aiglons attacked the second half on the front foot. From a corner from Danilo, Hérelle thought he had made the difference with a powerful volley, but Lecomte was there to deny. In the minutes that followed, ASM broke into the box but couldn’t make it count with his first or his second effort (47’). Two minutes later, following a great team move, Lees-Melou found himself in front of the defence, but saw his strike blocked by the opposition’s goalkeeper. Le Gym didn’t make the most of its dominant period to ensure the victory. So it was written in the stars that Le Gym would need to lock the door in order to win. They double locked the door.
A strike from Mollet was blocked by Dante before hitting the post and the Allianz understood a little better that a good performance also requires suffering and a few nervy moments (78'). Delort’s effort that was caught at the second attempt by Benitez (80') also confirmed this.
Despite chances for Saint-Maximin and Lees-Melou at the end of the game, the home side knuckled down to hold on to their lead. And they did so with class and seriousness.
Patrick Vieira’s choices
Coach Vieira decided to attack the encounter in a 4-3-3. Patrick Burner – who was very good throughout the match – started on the right of the defence, with Hérelle and Dante (excellent) in the middle and Malang Sarr on the left.
In the middle, Wylan Cyprien started in front of the defence. After picking up a knock in the first half, he made way for Rémi Walter at the break, which saw Danilo sit back – who started at 8 – in front of the back four.
Lees-Melou then Walter - who started his game excellently - played in front.
Up-front, Saint-Maximin and Srarfi played alongside Diaby-Fadiga.
Feeling that, without the second goal, Le Gym would need to defend in order to get the three points in the final half an hour, the coach replaced Lamine Diaby-Fadiga with Olivier Boscagli and opted to switch his 4-3-3 into a 3-5-2. Bosca' played on the left wing, Malang moved into the middle, and Saint-Max' was alone up-front until Ganago replaced Srarfi with 5 minutes to go.
As Ignatius came on at the end of the game, Walter moved to the right wing.
20’ An excellent delivery and a brillant header. Wylan Cyprien, was impeccable as we have come to expect from a dead-ball situation. On the right hand side, out on the wing, the number 25 struck firmly into the middle. The ball arrived strongly to the back post and the captain, Dante headed beautifully into the back of the net. This time around, Lecomte was helpless.
The Aiglon of the Match
Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 1-0 Montpellier (1-0 at half-time)
Week 31 of L1 - 07/04/2019
17 980 spectators
Referee: Ruddy Buquet
Goals: Dante (20') for Nice
Yellow cards: Srarfi (83') for Nice ; Hilton (35') for Montpellier
OGC Nice: Benitez - Burner, Hérelle, Dante (cap), Sarr - Lees-Melou, Cyprien (Walter 46'), Danilo - Srarfi (Ganago 87'), Diaby-Fadiga (Boscagli 67'), Saint-Maximin.
Montpellier HSC: Lecomte - Mendes, Hilton (cap), Congré - Aguilar, Le Tallec, Skhiri, Ristic (Lasne 60')- Mollet - Laborde (Camara 74'), Delort (Skuletic 81').