MONTPELLIER 2-1 NICE
September 14, 2019
Le Gym caught out by Montpellier
On Saturday, OGC Nice fell to defeat in Montpellier during Matchday 5 of Ligue 1 (2-1). Too quickly pegged back after opening the scoring in the first half, the Red and Blacks were finally sunk after a cross-shot from Mollet.
The features of the game
The Mosson still won’t smile on Les Aiglons. With Le Gym only having won two of their last 20 trips to Montpellier in L1, they once again fell into the trap concocted by Les Héraultais. An inspired and sharp Montpellier side in the first half, who showed seriousness and application in the second. Up against them, Nice showed promise, battled, played, but lacked that little something in the final stages of the game.
The first half was both intense, pleasant, yet suffocating. Despite a positive performance on the whole, Les Rouge et Noir, suffered for half an hour at the hands of the physical power of the home side, which forced Benitez to pull out his ‘A Game’. Loyal to himself, the Argentinian was inspired and kept his side in the game with four incredible stops. He closed down the angle to deny Delort, who had beaten Lloris (8’); got down quickly to stop a first-time strike from Laborde after a run from Oyongo (16’); made a double save to prevent Delort and Laborde (29’) and saw Ferri’s volley crash against his post (25’). Thanks to their keeper’s efforts, Les Aiglons, didn’t waste any time to cause the home side their own problems.
Atal - who started on the left wing - caused endless problems for Souquet (the ex-Nice defender). Dolberg, who was quite quiet, looked dangerous every time he got the ball. The Danish centre forward was in fact involved in Les Aiglons’ first two threatening chances. He showed his strength in a duel with Hilton, before trying his luck from 20 metres out (23’), but his effort was unfortunately blocked by Mendes. Then he had eyes in the back of his head when he back heeled to Lees-Melou, but PLM couldn’t find a way past Rulli (29’).
After continuously putting the opposition under pressure, it was Atal who unlocked the match. From a rather direct move which started with Benitez, Dolberg opened the passage for the Algerian missile to attack the box. He was stopped in his tracks, but the ball fell to Tameze.
The midfielder opened the scoring with a powerful strike that was slightly deflected - his first goal in L1 (0-1, 35’).
Despite the goal, the lead didn’t last long for Les Aiglons. Only two minutes in fact, as Delort beat Lees-Melou in the box from a corner and scored with a header that Benitez so nearly kept out (1-1, 37’).
Everything needed to be redone for Ounas and co. Cyprien started things off after the break, as he let rip a volley with his left, but the effort was turned away by Rulli’s leg. The rhythm dropped off, and Les Azuréens started to take control of possession. However, with a direct move, Oyongo found Delort, who flicked on for Mollet and the lead for the home side had been found thanks to his cross-shot (2-1, 56').
Despite several changes (see below), Le Gym struggled to put Montpellier under pressure. Ounas struck a free-kick that flew over (69'), in the same way as Claude-Maurice (74') and Ganago’s efforts (90+2'). It was through Atal that the glimmer of hope almost returned. A long ball from Cyprien in behind the defence found the Algerian, but Rulli was there to tackle and the ball fell to Ganago. The Cameroonian forward tried his luck first time, but Hilton cleared off his line.
There was to be no second equaliser.
Patrick Vieira’s choices
At kick-off, Patrick Vieira decided to stick with nine of the 11 players that started the match against Rennes before the international break. The only two changes were made to the attacking set-up, with Dolberg starting his first match for Les Aiglons, in the same way as Ounas (after his fifteen minutes in Brittany). The Danish colossus and the attacking midfielder took the places of Lusamba and Srarfi, who started at Roazhon Park. The third man of the attacking trio was Youcef Atal.
Apart from that, the same protagonists attacked the game in the preferred 4-3-3.
Benitez was in goal. Given the absence of Dante, Herelle and Sarr, the back four was made up of Burner, Pelmard, Lloris and Coly.
In midfield, Cyprien started in front of the back four, with the captain’s armband proudly around his arm. Tameze and Lees-Melou started slightly further forward.
As soon as his side fell behind, Patrick Vieira made two immediate changes.
The coach sent on Claude-Maurice and Ganago to replace Coly and Tameze. This led to a couple of tactical adjustments. Atal pushed back to the right back position, Burner moved across to the left. Ounas dropped deeper into the midfield, whilst ACM and Ganago played either side of Dolberg.
Le Gym’s side in the final half an hour: Benitez - Atal, Pelmard, Lloris, Burner - Ounas, Cyprien, Lees-Melou - Ganago, Dolberg, Claude-Maurice.
Finally, Myziane replaced Dolberg in the final quarter of an hour.
The evening’s results
The provisional league table
Montpellier, Stade de la Mosson
Montpellier HSC 2-1 OGC Nice (1-1 at half-time)
Week 5 of L1 - 14/09/2019
Approximately 13,000 spectators
Referee: Olivier Thual
Goals: Delort (37'), Mollet (56') for Montpellier; Tameze (35') for Nice
Yellow cards: Mendes (39') for Montpellier; Atal (21'), Coly (41') for Nice
Montpellier HSC: Rulli - Souquet, Mendes, Hilton (cap), Congré (Cozza 47'), Oyongo - Ferri, Le Tallec - Mollet (Dolly 89') - Laborde (Ristic 80'), Delort.
OGC Nice: Benitez - Burner, Pelmard, Lloris, Coly (Claude-Maurice 60') - Tameze, Cyprien (cap), Lees-Melou - Ounas (Ganago 60'), Dolberg (Myziane 78'), Atal.