OGC Nice bring curtain down on preseason with 1-0 win over Toro
For their fifth and final pre-season friendly match, OGC Nice played host to Torino FC on Saturday 30 July. Playing at home at Allianz Riviera, Lucien Favre’s men recorded a 1-0 win over the side that finished tenth in Serie A last season, courtesy of a Calvin Stengs goal.
Playing at home, OGC Nice were looking to finish their preseason by putting into practice what Lucien Favre has been asking for since his return to the Côte d'Azur. First of all, against Torino, the Rouge et Noir defended well, before making the difference in the second half, against an Italian side ready to start their season.
Dante and his teammates started the game well, playing in a 4-3-3 formation, with Delort upfront, against a typically solid visiting outfit. It looked as though Ricardo Rodriguez's shot off target (10') and Alexis Claude-Maurice's shot, blocked by the Italian goalkeeper (11'), would spark the match into life. In the end, the game settled into a slow rhythm on the Allianz Riviera pitch in the summer heat. The two teams observed each other and did not give their opponents any chances until the final ten minutes of the half. Ricci (38') and Aina (42') were both dangerous for Torino, before Gouiri had the last chance of the first half, but his shot was comfortably saved by Milinkovic-Savic (45+2').
A BETTER SECOND HALF
the Italians found their second wind. The chances flowed. Le Gym were the first onto the front foot. Billal Brahimi tried his luck with his left (46'). A few moments later, Le Gym fans almost had the best goal of pre-season to cheer: playing out from the back through Todibo, Lucien Favre's players made their up the field with just one or two touches, all the way to the opposition penalty box, but Gouiri was unable to apply the finish (50'). It was definitely game on.
Les Azureéns were buoyed by this opportunity and were solid in defence, with 'keeper Bulka imposing in front of Singo (66') and Radonjic (75'). All that remained was to net the winning goal at the other end. In a replay of the third goal at Reims, Gouiri came close to heading in Delort's cross after being fed by Brahimi (67'). It was the moment that Lucien Favre chose to bring on fresh legs. It was the first time that Ilie and Calvin Stengs had appeared on the pitch, and they were immediately into the action. On the left, the Romanian played a one-two with Amine Gouiri, before bursting into the box and squaring the ball for the Dutchman, who passed the ball into the empty net with his right foot (1-0, 78').
The opening goal set the team on their way to their first win of preseason and they managed to hold off the last few Italian attacks, even allowing themselves a few half chances at the other end to add a second. Le Gym can now look forward to the start of the season on a winning note.
TWO IMPORTANT DATES NEXT WEEK
On Tuesday, Le Gym will discover their potential Europa Conference League opponents when the next draw is held at 14:00 CET. And then attentions turn to Toulouse and the opening day of the new Ligue 1 season on Sunday at 13:00 CET.
OGC Nice 1-0 Torino FC: Calvin Stengs (78')
Allianz Riviera / 11,032 spectators
Referee: Pierre Gaillouste.
OGC Nice : Bulka, Lotomba, Todibo, Dante (c), Bard (Mendy 46') - Claude-Maurice (Belahyane 78'), Rosario, Thuram (Ilie 69') - Brahimi, Delort (Stengs 69'), Gouiri.
Torino FC: Milinkovic-Savic - Izzo, Zima, Rodriguez - Singo, Lukic, Ricci, Aina - Seck, Linetty - Sanabria.
Substitutes: Bericha, Bayeye, N’Guessan, Radonjic, Segre, Adopo, Zaza, Edera, Verdi.