Aiglon of the match

Lemina becomes "Super Mario"

Having scored the winning goal and bossed the midfield for Nice, Mario Lemina carried Les Aiglons to a well-deserved 2-1 win over Partizan Belgrade on Matchday 5 of the Conference League. 

The 77th minute of the game will forever be his. Having just conceded a tough equaliser, Les Aiglons immediately went on the attack to try to turn their fate around, with Lemina leading the charge, and it was in the 77th minute that the defensive midfielder became a forward in what was a nice little nod to his first few years as a footballer. After being picked out in the box by his midfield alter ego, Khephren Thuram, the Gabon international lit the fuse with a sidestep onto his right foot, a snapshot and a goal – his third with Le Gym and his first of the season. His attempt was actually deflected by Kristijan Belić, which wrongfooted ‘keeper Aleksandar Popović, but we can’t help but see the just rewards for the no. 99’s non-stop activity.

Aside from his crucial goal, Lemina did what he does best: smothering the opposition midfield – which underwent a complete makeover in the second half – through his running and strength and organising the play with precision. It was (yet another) top-drawer display that earns him 54% of the fans’ votes.

Having scored his fifth goal for Les Aiglons in 14 games, Nicolas Pepe ranks second in the poll with 20% of the votes. As a key part of Les Rouge et Noir’s play, the Ivorian international played as a number ten with the freedom to take the play wherever he wanted. This paid off for him in the 29th minute, when his precise, right-footed strike from 12 yards finished off a move that he had started all by himself.

Finally, Hicham Boudaoui completes the top three with 11% of the votes. Priceless in his ball recovery and omnipresent in his side’s attacking play, the “Prince of Béchar” was on top form for the big occasion.