Europa Conference League Barrage retour
Beka Beka (114')
Le Gym battle to qualification at the end of a long night! (2-0)
Without any doubt, OGC Nice put in their best performance of the start of this season. Exceptional from start to finish, a united and breathtaking effort, as they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Europa Conference League play-offs on Thursday evening, after extra time (2-0). Les Aiglons have made it into the group stage!
This Nice side is incredible! After a 1-0 defeat in the first leg a week ago, OGC Nice had to beat Maccabi Tel-Aviv in the second leg of the Europa Conference League play-offs to reach the group stage. The team did so with real style and character in an exceptional Allianz Riviera at the very end of the night. Lucien Favre's intuition knew that his squad would qualify. He succeeded in doing so with a 2-0 victory to bring the suspense to a close!
ACM MAKES HIS COMEBACK
Learning lessons from the first leg to go out and secure qualification. That was the objective on Thursday evening at the Allianz Riviera. First of all, it was vital to start a side capable of making the difference for Lucien Favre. One week after the solid first half from his side at the Bloomfield Stadium, the Swiss coach made just one change to his starting eleven. The former Lorient midfielder, Alexis Claude-Maurice started for the first time in a competitive match this season, replacing Calvin Stengs. ACM's first start since Strasbourg in May 2021, when he suffered a serious meniscus injury.
Like the Israelis in Tel Aviv, the OGC Nice players were able to count on 20,000 supporters from the start of the match, who had been warmed up by the presentation of their latest recruit, Nicolas Pépé. The chants filled the ground from the get go. While boos rang out every time that Maccabi Tel Aviv had the ball, setting the scene for the 11 men in red and black. And then, with every move towards the visitors' goal, you could feel the whole of the Allianz Riviera holding their breath.
Like last Thursday, Les Aiglons took control of the ball from the get-go. Starting in a 4-2-3-1 with the Thuram-Lemina duo supporting Claude-Maurice, Ramsey and Ilie, the home side quickly looked dangerous through the former France U21 international. His effort flew just over (2'), but laid the path for Le Gym to follow in order to secure their place in the group stage of the Europa Conference League. So they continued, they pressed, they played, through the middle and down the wings, until they found their way through. Lucien Favre had asked for more crosses in is pre-match press conference. His side listened to him. Rares Ilie first tried his luck, but the ball was too close to the goal to allow Andy Delort to trouble Daniel Peretz (21'). Five minutes later, Khephren Thuram took the opportunity with his right boot. This time, the pass was perfect for Claude-Maurice to head home (1-0, 26'). Le Gym number 10's seventh goal for the club.
Sure of their strengths after this excellent start, OGC Nice continued their hard work. Driven by an impressive attitude, Les Azuréens continued to push. Ramsey saw his shot deflected in the first instance. Then came the big chance for Andy Delort. The striker benefited from a poor back pass from an Israeli defender. The number 7 dribbled past the Maccabi goalkeeper, but the latter got back to slow the ball down and allow his defender to clear from in front of his goal (32'). After dominating and playing the better football, Le Gym managed to take a one-goal advantage into the break.
LACK OF REALISM
It was in the second half that the Israelis scored the only goal of the match in the first leg on 18 August. Le Gym knew it. So, this time, they continued to play and at the same time, the defence remained tight. Khephren Thuram took advantage of that. Often found in midfield, and using his technique to create danger in the box. The whole team tried their luck, following the example of Delort, and then Bard on the left (50', 52'). Up against them, this time, Vladimir Ivic's squad was unable to make use of their supporters. They rarely showed themselves to be dangerous in the face of aconvincing Aiglons side. As the end of normal time approached, several Niçois recorded shots on target. But neither Delort (63', 68'), Todibo (76'), nor Dante (86') managed to trouble Peretz. The best opportunity came from a lively Thuram. Delort's cross from the right was met by a half-volley at the far post by the No.19. His shot flew towards the top corner, but the Israeli keeper made an exceptional save (83')!
The chance had escaped Lucien Favre's side in normal time. They were going to need to go out and win it in the second half.
RED CARD AND A MAGIC TOUR
Stengs saw his shot fly over (94') to demonstrate Le Gym's desire to make the difference during the extra 30 minutes. Without real opportunities of note, but not lacking spirit, as Amine Gouiri proved when he went to battle in the box. He caught the opponent and conceded a free-kick, which resulted in a second yellow card. The OGC Nice number 11 was sent off (100') with twenty minutes to go. Maccabi took advantage of this at the start of the second half of extra-time. Oscar Gloukh had the best Israeli opportunity, but his powerful shot hit Schmeichel's bar (107').
After eight minutes sitting in front of their goal, Nice waited for their next chance. They more than deserved it after so much effort. The Israelis had nothing more to give, blocked by the red and black block. To avoid a dreaded penalty shootout, OGC Nice tried everything to play out but without losing the balance of the team. That was, until Alexis Beka Beka found the light. The midfielder, who had come on a few moments earlier in place of Thuram, broke free of two opponents on the left. He cut onto his right foot and unleashed an outstanding shot! In off of the post! Le Gym were 2-0 in front (114')! The Allianz Riviera exploded, as everyone, including the substitutes, piled on top of the striker. All that remained was for Schmeichel to keep his clean sheet.
OGC Nice had learnt their lesson. They set themselves up to avoid committing silly fouls or leaving too much space. In front of a highly charged crowd, Lucien Favre's side held on. The score remained at 2-0 and brought euphoria to the 20,000 supporters delighting in their side's performance.
OGC Nice will be in the draw for the group stage of the competition in Istanbul, and have ensured their involvement in a further six European matches.The perfect way to head into the derby against Marseille on Sunday. How good does that feel!
The highlights of OGC Nice 2-0 Maccabi Tel-Aviv
August 25 2022 20:00
Boulhendi Bułka Daniliuc Bouanani Viti Mendy
Nachmias Van Overeem Kuwas Parfait Tenenbaum Rikan Piven Peretz Hozez
Gouiri (80') Gouiri (100') Dante (100') Ramsey (102') Bard (108') Thuram (120')
Kanichowsky (23') Glazer (102')