Le Gym and AS Roma can't be separated (1-1)
OGC Nice and AS Roma couldn't be separated in Le Gym's fourth pre-season friendly of the summer (1-1). Lucien Favre's side showed real positives in the first half before the Romans reacted in the second.
In their final match of pre-season in Portugal, OGC Nice drew with AS Roma at the Estádio Albufeira (1-1). Les Aiglons looked strong in the first half, which they brought to a close with a clinical finish from Billal Brahimi, before they were pegged back in a second half that was dominated by José Mourinho's side. At kick-off, Lucien Favre started the club's new signing, Rares Ilie. Bulka, Atal, Todibo, Dante (cap.), Bard, Rosario, Lemina, Stengs, Claude-Maurice and Brahimi completed Le Gym's eleven, who were set-up in a 4-2-3-1. Andy Delort (in recovery) and Khephren Thuram (rested following slight muscular discomfort) didn't feature in the matchday squad.
A FIRST HALF FOR LE GYM...
The first chance of the match fell to Les Aiglons. After an impressive team move, Ilie laid it back to Stengs who powered a left-footed effort along the ground from the edge of the box, but Svilar was there to save. The OGC Nice pressing game was effective and caused problems for the Romans, as Alexis Claude-Maurice impressive interception showed. But the 24-year old midfielder hesitated on the edge of the box and saw his pass cleared away by the Roma defence.
Well set-up defensively, accurate technically and with strong attacking intentions, Les Aiglons created several chances. A right-footed effort from Rares Ilie missed the target and the lively Brahimi's effort was caught at the second time of asking by Svilar. It was in fact the Algerian international who was going to find the opener of the encounter at the end of the first half.
Played in deep by Calvin Stengs, Billal Brahimi showed his pace down the right wing to get the better of Vina. The forward broke into the box with the ball at feet and scored with the inside of his left boot (0-1, 41’). A clinical move that allowed Le Gym to open the scoring and head into the dressing room at half-time with a not undeserved one goal lead, given the solid first 45 minutes from Lucien Favre's side.
...THE SECOND FOR THE ROMANS
At the start of the second half, the Giallorossi came back with other intentions, an entirely different line-up, and then looked to take hold of the ball. Marcin Bulka made a smart reflex save to deny Mancini's header after a corner from Veretout. Against the Italians' assaults, Le Gym were finally beaten. Lemina scored an own goal with his head after Karsdorp sent the ball into the box (1-1, 55’).
Les Aiglons, looking less comfortable, tried to withstand the Roman attacks. Bulka dealt with an effort from El Shaarawy, turned Pellegrini's effort away for a corner, after the Polish stopper had procrastinated as he pushed away the Italian international's free-kick. The arrivals in the second half of Mendy, Gouiri, Schneiderlin, Bouanani, Trouillet, Belahyane and Da Cunha didn't allow Les Aiglons to retake the lead, and the two teams left the field on level terms.
A FINAL PRE-SEASON MATCH BEFORE LIGUE 1
Lucien Favre's side will be back in action next Saturday at 5pm at the Allianz Riviera for a final friendly against another Italian side, Torino. A final test that will take place one week before the return of Ligue 1 football at Toulouse (07/08 at 1pm).
The facts and figures
AS Roma 1-1 Nice: goal from Brahimi (41’) and own goal from Lemina (55’)
Bulka, Atal, Todibo, Dante (cap.), Bard, Rosario, Lemina, Stengs, Claude-Maurice, Ilie, Brahimi
Off of the bench:
Mendy (45’), Gouiri (63’), Schneiderlin (63’), Bouanani (75’), Trouillet (82’), Belahyane (82’) and Da Cunha (82’)
The AS Roma starting 11:
Svilar - Karsdorp, Kumbulla, Smalling, Vina, Spinazzola - Matic, Veretout, Perez - Zaniolo, Shomurodov.
AS Roma in the second half: R.Patricio - Celik, Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez, Zalewski - Cristante, Bove, Pellegrini (cap) - El Sharawy, Abraham.