Nice 2-0 Monaco
May 25, 2019
A great conclusion
On Friday, Le Gym won the derby against their neighbours from Monaco in the final game of the 2018-19 season (2-0). At the end of an evening that was marked by a goal from Le Bihan, Nice end the season in 7th place and finish with a better points tally than last year.
A goal in the first half against the run of play. Another in the second, at the very moment that Monaco were pushing for the equaliser and the Niçois were looking to kill the game off. For the final game of the season, Le Gym didn’t do everything well, but they did the necessary and added an extra dose of emotion, when Mika' the battler, so often thwarted by injury since he arrived in Nice, marked his return to fitness with a penalty taken with surgical precision. The reward for a warrior, which is worth even more than three points. A reward that brings down the curtain on this season with a smile.
That is the summary of the main highlights of the game. But for the rest, the Red and Blacks were troubled before the break, didn’t get a shot off on target but took the lead thanks to a Badiashile own goal, after he attempted to clear Atal’s cross at the near post (1-0, 36’).
It’s worth noting that the home side would have been behind if it wasn’t for the talent of Benitez (who made an incredible double save to deny Fabregas and then Martins in the 16th minute), a touch of luck (Fabregas smashed a header against the bar in the 12th minute) and the hesitation of the visitors with their final move (Sidibé, alone in the box, pulled his shot wide in the 18th minute; after some excellent skill from Martins, Golovin didn’t find the target with a header in the 31st minute and neither did Falcao in the 33rd).
Les Aiglons came back with good intentions after the break. Stronger in their duels, more probing with their runs, they began to dig their claws into the derby. A huge strike from Saint-Maximin went wide (53’) but did enough to show the home side’s good intentions. These were almost extinguished when Fabregas was through on Benitez, but the Argentine beast made another marvellous stop (56'). Then made another just after, again to prevent the Spaniard from getting onto the scoresheet (58'), to secure his 16th clean sheet of the season in the league - the highest in L1.
The encounter continued to heat up, with the play moving from one end to the other. Glik almost scored “a second own goal” on the hour mark, as he turned away a cross from Ganago, and this ping-pong game came to a close in the 67th minute, when Le Bihan converted a penalty that was won by Saint-Maximin, with an unstoppable strike. The number 10’s first goal since 15 April 2017, which would have been followed by a second, if it wasn’t for a Benaglio stop just after.
The story ended well. Le Gym finished their season in 7th place and achieved one of their objectives: bettering last season’s performance. The evening came to a close with a lap of honour.
Coach Vieira’s choices
For the final match of the season, Coach Vieira kept his faith in his 4-3-3. In front of Benitez, Hérelle and Dante played through the middle, Atal was on the right and Sarr on the left.
The midfield trio of Lees-Melou – Tameze – Danilo came up against Golovin -Silva – Fabregas in the middle.
Finally, up-front Saint-Maximin was on the right, Ganago on the left and Le Bihan through the middle.
Makengo replaced Danilo as a like-for-like change after 60 minutes. Then Walter replaced Tameze and Jallet came on for Le Bihan, to reinforce the Nice defence and deservedly receive a standing ovation.
36’ Slightly timid at the start of the encounter, and put under pressure by Martins’ quality in 1-on-1 situations, Atal pushed further forward as the minutes passed. On the half-hour mark, he crossed into the middle, and Badiashile turned into his own net.
67' Following a corner, Saint-Maximin was brought down by Sidibé in the box. Le Bihan stepped up and smashed the ball into Benaglio’s net, sending the Allianz into a frenzy. Superb!
Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 2-0 AS Monaco (1-0 at half-time)
Week 38 of L1 - 24/05/2019
Referee: Ruddy Buquet
Goals: Badiashile (36', O.G), Le Bihan (67') for Le Gym
Yellow cards: Tameze (44'), Makengo (84') for Nice; Henrichs (12'), Golovin (21'), Glik (66') for Monaco
OGC Nice: Benitez - Atal, Herelle, Dante (cap), Sarr - Lees-Melou, Tameze (Walter 82'), Danilo (Makengo 69') - Saint-Maximin, Le Bihan (Jallet 86'), Ganago.
AS Monaco: Benaglio - Henrichs, Glik, Badiashile, Ballo-Touré - Golovin, Silva, Fabregas (Aholou 72') - Sidibé, Falcao (cap) (Vinicius 87'), Martins (Lopes 72').