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Le Gym beaten at La Meinau

Strasbourg 1-0 Nice

October 26, 2019

Le Gym beaten at La Meinau

On Saturday, Le Gym fell to defeat against Strasbourg during Matchday 11 of L1 (1-0).

The features of the game 

Without numerous members of the squad and lacking in agression and accuracy, Les Aiglons struggled to make themselves known at La Meinau. In their new system, a 3-4-1-2 (see below), they strengthened their defence with, almost certainly, the hope of annulling the threat of the two attacking towers (Mothiba and Ajorque), playing up-front in the home side’s 4-4-2. But hope needs fire to live, and on Saturday, the fire was white and blue. 

To keep Le Gym at bay, Racing relied on their strengths, playing down the wings and sending crosses into the box for their attacking duo, hoping that they would be able to make the difference. The difference was made pretty earlier on using this very tactic, when Simakan, the RCSA right back, sent a gem into the box. Ajorque flicked back, not to his strike partner, but to Thomasson, coming through from midfield and opening the scoring (1-0, 23’).

A deserved lead given that the home side had dominated the start of the game. Deserved but cruel, because just minutes before, Coly smashed a header at goal from a corner sent in by Lusamba, but a reflex save by Sels denied the defender the opener (18’).

Lusamba’s set-pieces were, in fact, the only area of the game in which Les Aiglons looked dangerous before the break - except for a solo run by Atal was cleared by Dijku (18’) -, but Dante saw his header caught by Sels (10’) and his half-volley missed the target (43’).

Lacking understanding in attack and generally looking to a brave Ganago who gave his all up-front, Nice rarely managed to push forward, except in the final stages of the game. 

At half-time, Strasbourg could have had more after several chances to put the game to bed, but Benitez made two stops early in the game to deny Simakan and Fofana (2’), Ajorque missed the ball, and Mothiba the target after another cross into the box (30’), before the South African struck wide (39’) and was then prevented by Pelmard (40’).

Down to ten men for the final half an hour 

Fofana missed another opportunity at the start of the second half (50') and Le Gym were immediately hot under the collar. The temperature shot up further when Coly picked up two yellow cards in five minutes, leaving his teammates down to ten men for the final half an hour of the game. 

The wind seemed to be blowing against the men from the Côte. Strasbourg continued to push, and would have doubled their lead, if it hadn’t been for their lack of quality in the final third. 

This allowed Patrick Vieira’s side to believe in the closing stages of the game, and more specifically in the final ten minutes, where they pushed and pushed. Three chances were created as the game drew to an close: Claude-Maurice ran on his own but couldn’t find Ganago and Thuram in the box (60'); Atal got through the whole of the home side’s defence but Sels got out to block (82'); and Dante’s header from a Lusamba free-kick found the gloves of the Belgian keeper (83').

But for the visitors, it was too little, too late and defeat brought a bad evening to an end. 

Patrick Vieira’s choices

The circumstances surrounding the fixture denied Patrick Vieira of several members of his squad: Dolberg (back pain), Lees-Melou (left out due to hamstring pain), Tameze (illness), Herelle and Cyprien (suspended). A list that also featured Nsoki, Ounas and Cissé (all recovering from injuries). After the defeat against Paris last weekend, the Coach only had five of his starting eleven at his disposal: Benitez, Dante, Sarr, Claude-Maurice and Ganago.

Le Gym therefore headed to Strasbourg with fresh blood and a new system: 3-4-1-2.

In front of Benitez, the central defensive trio was made up of Dante, flanked by two graduates of the Nice Academy: Pelmard and Sarr.

In midfield, Khéphren Thuram, 18 years old, started for the first time in L1, and played alongside Lusamba through the middle. Atal played on the right wing, with Coly on the left.

Claude-Maurice started at 10, supporting an attacking duo of Myziane – Ganago.

After Coly was sent off (56'), Danilo came on to replace Myziane and Le Gym switched to a 4-4-1, with Danilo in front of the back four and Ganago on his own up-front. 

Then Srarfi took Thuram’s place in an attempt to get something in the final thirty minutes. 

In the 89th minute, Burner came on for Pelmard.

The results from Matchday 11

League table  

Strasbourg, La Meinau,
RC Strasbourg Alsace 1-0 OGC Nice (1-0 at half-time)

Matchday 11 of L1 - 26/10/2019

Approximately 30,000 spectators

Referee: Mikael Lesage

Goals: Thomasson (23') for Strasbourg

Yellow cards: Lienard (37') for Strasbourg; Coly (50', 56'), Atal (63') for Nice

Red cards: Coly (56') for Nice

RC Strasbourg Alsace: Sels - Simakan, Mitrovic (cap), Djiku, Caci - Fofana (Sissoko 78'), Bellegarde, Lienard, Thomasson (Lala 89') - Mothiba (Zohi 78'), Ajorque.

OGC Nice: Benitez - Pelmard (Burner 89'), Dante (cap), Sarr - Atal, Lusamba, Thuram (Srarfi 68'), Coly - Claude-Maurice - Ganago, Myziane (Danilo 59').

Photos : J-M.P. / IconSport