Aiglon of the match

Bułka provides ray of Sunday sunshine

After saving his fourth penalty of the season, Marcin Bułka has been voted as the Aiglon of the Match from Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Clermont at the Allianz Riviera. 

As the ray of sunshine on what was a tough afternoon for Les Aiglons, Marcin Bułka has now taken home the Aiglon of the Match award thanks to his huge role in keeping a clean sheet for Le Gym against Clermont yesterday. Despite rarely being called into action, the Poland international showed the hallmark of any great goalkeeper by responding when needed in the handful of tricky moments that arose in front of his own goal. Having been attentive enough to tackle the ball away from Bilal Boutobba following a short backpass from Dante minutes before the interval, Bułka also came out on top in his one-on-one with Alan Virginius inside the Nice box in the 65th minute.

Most importantly, though, the “wall of Płock” shone doing what he does best: saving penalties. Just as it looked like Les Rouge et Noir were going to head into the changing rooms a goal down at the break, Bułka denied Clermont striker Shamar Nicholson – who had chosen the Polish keeper’s left side – by getting down quickly enough to push away the spot kick and save Le Gym in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time.

After making his third penalty save of the season in Ligue 1 (and the fourth if you include the Coupe de France last-16 tie away to Montpellier), Bułka now holds the joint-highest total in this respect across Europe’s top five leagues alongside TSG Hoffenheim’s Oliver Baumann. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Pole had already produced heroics in the 1-0 win away to AS Monaco on Matchday 6 – a truly magical evening for Les Aiglons at the Stade Louis II – by stopping both of Folarin Balogun’s attempts from 12 yards, while Bułka’s current tally of penalty saves now means that he draws level with Walter Benítez as the club’s record holder in this respect since Opta began analysing the French top flight, as back in the 2018/2019 campaign, the Argentine managed to save three of the five penalties that he faced.

As a result, Bułka’s achievement has not only earned him the title of Aiglon of the Match but also a rating of 8/10 and a place in L’Équipe’s team of the week for Matchday 23. Alongside this, with an average mark of 5.7/10, the Nice stopper currently sits sixth in the French sports daily’s ranking of Ligue 1 goalkeepers across the entire season.

Hugo Rondet, avec Opta

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