Match report

The Gym start pre-season with a draw against Cercle Bruges (1-1)

On Saturday, the Gym drew with Cercle Bruges (1-1) in their first warm-up match of the summer.

The Gym played the first match of the summer of 2022 at the training centre this morning against Cercle Bruges, at the end of two intense weeks of training. The Aiglons and the Belgians played out a 1-1 draw at the end of a match dominated by Nice, particularly in the second half. Lucien Favre gave 22 players game time during the match. The game saw youngsters Daouda Traoré, Badrerine Bouanani, Reda Belahyane and Yannis Nahounou make their first steps in the first team. 

The Swiss coach chose a 4-3-3 formation for this first test. From the very first seconds of the game, the Belgians were pressing Nice intensively. Thanks to this pressure, Cercle Bruges created the first interesting situations of the match on the counter-attack. But Marcin Bulka, as a solid last line of defence, was able to stop each and every one of them after a double chance for Bruges.


After this warning, the Gym set the pace and kept control of the ball. Lucien Favre's players soon found the breakthrough. Khephren Thuram found Andy Delort in the box after a nice one-two with Amine Gouiri. The man from Sète fired in a close-range shot with his right foot to open the scoring (1-0, 8').

After this first goal, the Azuréens continued to push forward. Delort sent Thuram down the left and the French U-21 international passed to Gouiri, but the 22-year-old striker's shot was off target. The trio of Gouiri-Thuram-Delort were giving the Belgians trouble. Calvin Stengs met Melvin Bard's cross at the far post but saw his shot turned away for a corner by Warleson.

At the end of the first half Cercle Bruges took advantage of some gaps in OGC Nice's defence to make chances. But Marcin Bulka didn't let anything slip. The Pole made a fine save to keep out a powerful shot from Deman. Just before the break, Denke's volley hit Bulka's post, and he saved a few seconds later. The Aiglons went into the break with a one-goal lead after an encouraging first half.


After the break, Lucien Favre made a few changes. Todibo, Thuram, Gouiri and Lemina gave way to Daniliuc, Schneiderlin, Traoré and Claude-Maurice. The tempo of the game at the start of the second half was lower than it had been for the first 45 minutes. Just before the hour mark, Schneiderlin received the ball from Rosario on the edge of the box and fired in a right-footed shot that Warleson caught with both hands.

To give the team more playing time, the Swiss coach made six changes again, bringing on Boulhendi, Nahounou, Bouanani, Guessand, Trouillet and Da Cunha for Bulka, Bard, Dante, Rosario, Stengs and Delort. Both teams had few chances at the end of the game. In the closing stages, Yannis Nahounou scored an own goal after a Belgian cross to allow the visitors to equalise.

At the end of the match, in addition to Badrerine Bouanani's first steps in the Gym shirt, the young Reda Belahyane made his debut. The Gym ended the game with a completely new 11, but still in a 4-3-3 formation: Boulhendi - Belahyane, Nahounou, Daniliuc, Da Cunha - Trouillet, Schneiderlin (C), Traoré - Bouanani, Guessand, Claude-Maurice.


The Aiglons will fly to Portugal next Thursday following a training session open to the public. During this training camp, Lucien Favre's men will face Benfica (on 15 July at 10pm) and Fulham (on 16 July at 9.15pm) as part of the Algarve trophy in Faro before taking on AS Roma (on 23 July at 8pm). A week later, OGC Nice will return to the Allianz Riviera for a final test against Torino (30 July, 7pm).