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Le Gym halted mid-comeback

Nice 1-4 Paris

October 19, 2019

Le Gym halted mid-comeback

Having just reduced the score that they had been set by PSG in the first half, Le Gym were halted mid-comeback, after picking up two extremely harsh red cards with fifteen minutes to go. At nine against 11, the men from the capital then went on to extend their lead (1-4).

The features of the game

Against the league leaders, Le Gym knew what they would have to do: Put in even more in order to make themselves known. For much of the game, they didn’t manage to do this. And then, in the course of a mild autumnal evening, they lifted their heads, reduced PSG’s lead, and rekindled the flame… But then, in two decisions, François Letexier threw water on the flame when he sent off Cyprien and Herelle, even though the midfielder had been the victim of a foul at the start of the move (75').

The comeback only lasted seven minutes. The time for Ganago to equalise (67'), for the Allianz to embrace, for Les Aiglons to break the Parisian chains, win their duels, and then find themselves down to nine men.

7 minutes: It was too few to dream of a real comeback and, looking back on the match, it’s far too frustrating.

What more can be said apart from that? That Paris were the better side for an hour, in every department across the pitch, but that the encounter deserved a different ending.

Benitez, as impressive as ever, made a triple save after just three minutes (strikes from Kimpembe, Diallo and Choupo Moting), but even the most solid of walls can fall when the tide is too strong. For Les Franciliens, the tide wore the number 11 shirt, and is of the same nationality as the goalkeeper. Di Maria made the most of a first time flick from Icardi, as Le Gym played very high up the pitch, and he ate up the whole of the Nice half of the pitch and finished with his left foot (0-1, 15’).

In the minutes that followed, as everyone was expecting him to hold the ball up, the left footer lobbed Benitez after an excellent ball from Meunier into the danger area between the full-back and centre back. 

To combat the domination of the reigning champions, Patrick Vieira tried to react, changing his system after half an hour (see below). In attack, Les Azuréens created several chances, but efforts from Ganago and Burner both missed the target (19’, 27’), and Silva cleared a cross from Danilo (45’).

A bad 75th minute 

In order to turn this one around at the break, it was going to take something special. Marquinhos, who came on at half-time, hit the bar with a header after an hour (60'), and you couldn’t help but think that the comeback was out of the question. Ticking over, PSG were caught out by trying to play it too casually, as Dolberg took advantage of Marquinhos’s mistake when he tried to chest away a cross from Burner… The Danish forward nipped in front of Kimpembe, flicked the ball on to Ganago on a plate and the Cameroonian striker, helped by the bar, didn’t falter when he got his chance (1-2, 67'). 

Sarabia missed a one-on-one with Benitez (70'),  and you could be forgiven for thinking the unthinkable. Shaken in the first half, Le Gym began to shake the Parisians, before the red cards came to destroy any ounce of suspense that was left with fifteen minutes to go. 

Two tough decision. Too tough. With only nine men, the Rouge et Noir battled until the end. Mbappé and Icardi added another two goals, which further spoilt the party.

Patrick Vieira’s choices

The coach had set the tone in the final ten minutes of the trip to Nantes. On Friday, he decided to start his side in a 4-3-3 which bared a real ressemblance to a 4-2-3-1, with Lees-Melou playing high up the pitch as a number 10 when Le Gym had the ball, and with a man marking role on Paredes when defending. This set-up lasted for half an hour. Up against Les Aiglons, PSG adopted an almost identical system (4-2-3-1), with Choupo Moting on the left of attack, and Sarabia or Di Maria with a free role between the lines.

In front of Benitez, Herelle (who hadn’t appeared since Marseille due to a knee injury) returned to the middle of the defence, alongside Dante. Burner (on the right) and Sarr (on the left).

In midfield, Danilo (starting for the first time this season) and Cyprien played in the deeper roles, with Lees-Melou slightly more advanced, but still in the triangle.

Up-front, Ganago and Claude-Maurice flanked Dolberg.

After thirty minutes, as things were getting very difficult, the coach switched to a 5-3-2, with Claude-Maurice on the left wing, Burner on the right and the duo of Ganago and Dolberg up-front.

Pelmard replaced Danilo with twenty minutes to go and Claude-Maurice slipped into midfield. 

This change was made just before the sending off of Cyprien and Herelle. 

Le Gym, with Tameze coming on for Ganago, ended the game in a 4-3-1 (Benitez - Burner, Dante, Sarr, Pelmard - Claude-Maurice, Tameze, Lees-Melou - Dolberg).

Myziane came on for Dolberg in the final minutes of the game.

The league table   

Nice, Allianz Riviera,
OGC Nice 1-4 Paris SG (0-2 at half-time)

Matchday 10 of L1 - 18/10/2019

32 705 spectators

Referee: François Letexier

Goals: Ganago (67') for Nice; Di Maria (15', 21'), Mbappé (88'), Icardi (90+1') for Paris

Yellow cards: Cyprien (23', 75'), Dante (90+3') for Nice; Kurzawa (72'), Kimpembe (86') for Paris.

Red cards: Cyprien (75') and Herelle (75')

OGC Nice: Benitez - Burner, Herelle, Dante (cap), Sarr - Danilo (Pelmard 71'), Cyprien - Ganago (Tameze 80'), Claude-Maurice, Lees-Melou - Dolberg (Myziane 90').

Paris SG: Navas - Meunier, Silva (cap) (Marquinhos 46'), Kimpembe, Diallo  - Herrera, Paredes - Di Maria, Sarabia (Mbappé 83'), Choupo Moting (Kurzawa 62') - Icardi.