Match report

Frustration for the Gym (2-2)

OGC Nice and Nantes played out a 2-2 draw in the 27th round of Ligue 1. The Niçois were pegged back in the final moments of a match they had dominated. They remain in 7th place in the league with 43 points. Moffi and Ndayishimiye were the Red and Black scorers.

When Youssouf appeared, the Gym thought they had done the hard part. The side-footed shot from the "Bujumbura wall" was indeed testament to a clear domination enjoyed by the visitors. With only 20 minutes left, the team continued to advance, confident of its ability. But Nantes equalised late in the game with a header from Mostafa Mohamed in the 88th minute. The goal was a frustrating one for the Gym, as it came after a numerical superiority in attack for Nice. But the ball was lost in the Nantes area and the counter-attack did the damage.

The two teams thus ended with a draw (2-2) and with very different feelings. With this draw, Nice remain 7th in L1 with 43 points, three behind Lille (6th) and four behind Rennes (5th).


Three days after the victory in Moldova against Sheriff Tiraspol (1-0), Didier Digard made 4 changes in his starting 11: Alexis Beka Beka started for the first time as a right wing-back, Melvin Bard as a left wing-back, Badredine Bouanani and Ross Barkley as the playmakers. The four players replaced Jordan Lotomba, Ayoub Amraoui, Pablo Rosario and Gaëtan Laborde.

The team was set up in a 3-4-3 formation and, as a tactical treat, with Barkley and Bouanani very central and very close to each other. This move by Didier Digard was inspired and paid off: instead of playing with a numerical inferiority in midfield, Nice played with 4 against 3, which greatly destabilised the Nantes holding midfielder (Moutoussamy) and Antoine Kombouaré's 4-3-3 for the first 25 minutes.


From the outset, the Aiglons showed their intentions and were in the ascendancy. Bouanani controlled a ball from Barkley in midfield, advanced quickly and then struck the ball with his right foot just outside the area, but Lafont turned the ball away for a corner (4'). From the corner, perfectly taken by Barkley, Moffi imposed himself in the air, won the header and opened the scoring for Nice (0-1, 5'). The Nigerian international scored his third goal for Nice and his 15th of the season, surpassing his record of 2020-21 (14).

The Aiglons were playing well and continued to push forward. Thuram sent Moffi into the box, who showed off his technical skills, accelerated and then crossed, but the Nantes defence blocked it for a corner (7'). With every burst and every move, the technically gifted Niçois were causing the Canaries problems. Beka Beka's powerful cross was headed away for a corner when Bard came at full speed to the far post (11'). The first attempts from the Yellow and Green, through Chirivella (9') and Simon (14'), did not worry the Azureans. Tactically well set up and physically fresh, the Gym, with a high percentage of successful passes, dominated the game early on.


In a sold-out stadium, Nantes gradually got themselves back into the game and began to cause the first scares in the Gym defence. In the area, Moussa Sissoko fired a shot towards goal but an strong tackle by Youssouf Ndayishimiye blocked the ball and kept the danger away (30'). Sissoko had woken Nantes up. He was also the one to equalise. The French international headed in Blas' free-kick from close range to level the scores (1-1, 31').

Two minutes later, the referee pointed to the penalty spot for Nantes after contact between Dante and Centonze on the right-hand side of the area. Nantes had the chance to go ahead against the run of play, but Blas hit the ball over the bar from the penalty spot (35'). Nantes were winning more duels at the end of the first half but were not putting the Aiglons in much danger, except for Moutoussamy's shot which Schmeichel read well (44'). The two teams went in at the break level.

At the start of the second half, the Aiglons set the tone. Barkley volleyed from Bard's cross into the box but Lafont caught the ball (48'). The Englishman was again involved with a powerful right-footed shot that went just over the bar (52') and then with a free-kick thirty metres from the goal that Lafont saved with both hands (59'). Nice dominated the ball at the beginning of the second half and were looking for a way to score the second goal, which almost came after a mix-up in the Nantes defence.


Thuram collected the ball in the box after a nice move by Moffi and shot at goal, Lafont pushed the ball back to Centonze who deflected the ball onto the crossbar. A few seconds later, Lafont turned away a low shot at the near post by Bouanani (59'). After the hour mark, Didier Digard introduced Ramsey, Laborde and Lotomba in place of Barkley, Bouanani and Beka Beka. He changed his system to a 4-3-3 by putting Youssouf Ndayishimiye in the middle, as a holder. A choice that paid off.

The contribution of the newcomers - combined with the tactical change - was soon in evidence. Lotomba's back-heel to Laborde set up Moffi for a shot at goal. The Nigerian striker shot at goal but Lafont saved once again (70'). After a sublime long ball from Ramsey, Laborde accelerated and crossed for Moffi, who controlled the ball with his back to goal in the area and then passed back to Youssouf Ndayishimiye. The 24-year-old Burundian international calmly slotted a right-footed shot past Lafont to put Nice ahead (1-2, 71').

... BEFORE THE 88'

The Niçois, solid defensively and inspired offensively, controlled the ball and almost added to the score. Thuram's left-footed attempt went wide (79'). After a fine one-two between Boudaoui and Moffi, the striker burst into the box and hit the ball into the side netting (80'). As Nice looked to be heading for victory, Mostafa Mohamed headed in a cross from Joao Victor in the dying moments of the game (2-2, 88'). It was a disappointment for the Gym, who are still on an unbeaten run of 11 games (6 wins and 4 draws in L1, 1 in Europe).


The Aiglons will host Sheriff Tiraspol at the Allianz Riviera next Thursday at 9pm in the second leg of the Conference League Round of 16, a week after the Gym's 0-1 victory in Moldova.

Three days later, the Red and Black will play FC Lorient in L1 (19/03 at 3pm).