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A more than deserved draw

Paris SG 1-1 Nice

May 4, 2019

A more than deserved draw

In a match that could have gone either way in the final minutes, Le Gym returns from Paris with a point and a share of the spoils after a 1-1 draw in Week 35 of the season. A deserved draw after a great team performance and an excellent Benitez, who saved Cavani’s penalty in stoppage time.

The Match

Against this Paris side, you already know how it’s going to go: Le Gym will have to defend stoutly just to stay alive. But Nice did more than that and, especially in the second half, they took the game to Paris and almost produced a stunning upset when Saint-Maximin, set up by Atal, hit the crossbar in the final minutes, before Paris came back into the game.

Nice were under pressure in the opening 45 minutes. But they never panicked, defending calmly and always trying to play the ball out of defence, before giving each counter attack everything. In the opening half, Kimpembe, Marquinhos and Alves resisted, but Atal (in the end called off side) showed that there was the opportunity to get in behind (26’), and Danilo hit the post in the same movement. 

Defensively, Benitez watched as Burner’s header flashed just wide (2’), before producing a stunning save to keep out Neymar’s volley (8’), and flew to deny Di Maria (24’). In front of him, Herelle, Dante and Burner were busy. But Le Gym was not stretched to breaking point and Ignatius Ganago gave the whole squad a massive confidence boost when he ran onto Dante’s ball and blasted it into the back of the net (0-1, 46’), just after the restart. Nice sat deeper but looked to hit on the counter. In the 58th minute, Atal turned Bernat inside out and crossed for Saint-Maximin who shot against the crossbar. Moments later, Paris made the most of the let off, racing up the other end and earning a penalty, tucked away by Neymar (1-1, 59’). Paris were level when they could have been two goals down. Nice looked for a winner when PSG were awarded an incredible second penalty in the final seconds (the VAR clearly showed a handball by Neymar in the build-up before he shot over the bar and was then tackled by Dante). But the immense Benitez saved Cavani’s spot kick and earned the draw.

Patrick Vieira’s choices

There were two changes from the side that beat Guingamp. Danilo came into midfield at the expense of Makengo and Ganago replaced Sacko in attack.

Benitez started in goal behind a back four comprising Burner, Hérelle, Dante and Sarr.

In midfield Lees-Melou and the excellent Danilo sat either side of Tameze.

Up front, Atal was on the right flank, Ganago on the left and Saint-Maximin through the middle. The Cameroonian goal scorer came off with injury on the hour mark, replaced by Makengo. Le Bihan then came on for Saint-Maximin with 15 minutes left.

Srarfi replaced Burner in the last five minutes as Nice went for the win.

The goals

46’ A great Dante ball over the top saw Ignatius get in behind Daniel Alves, and then blast the ball past Areola at his near post. A wonderful goal. His second in L1 this season.

60’ A Neymar penalty. Against Benitez, the Brazilian stepped up and coolly sent the Argentine the wrong way.

In Paris, Parc des Princes,
Paris SG 1-1 OGC Nice (Half-time: 0-0)

Week 35- Ligue 1 - 04/05/2019

30,000 spectators (approx.)

Referee: Frank Schneider

Goals: Ganago (Nice) 46', Neymar (PSG) pen. 59' 

Bookings: Verratti (PSG) 54', Atal (Nice) 64', Dante (Nice) 90', Herelle  (Nice) 94', Cavani (PSG) 94'

Paris SG: Areola - D. Alves, Marquinhos (cap), Kimpembe, Bernat - Verratti, Paredes (Kurzawa 65') - Draxler (Diaby 65') , Neymar, Di Maria - Cavani.

OGC Nice: Benitez - Burner (Srarfi 89'), Hérelle, Dante (cap), Sarr - Lees-Melou, Tameze, Danilo - Atal, Saint-Maximin (Le Bihan 75'), Ganago (Makengo 60')