Europa Conference League Matchday 3
Enjoyment and fight: the Gym win and move on! (0-1)
The Gym's victory over Slovácko was the result of an intense evening of European football, with the team winning 0-1 this Thursday. The win, which comes on top of the first two points earned from the first two matches, means that the team is now provisionally top of Group D.
It's the kind of evening that Europe is all about. The kind of night when the passes are more precise, when the duels are harder, when the whole stadium is against you and when victory tastes like liberation. After 70 minutes of being dominated, the Czechs came fought back in the last half hour and the Gym had to hold strong. They played well and resisted to get their first win of the group stage. With style and with heart.
Despite 120 seconds of possession for the hosts, Dante's team-mates quickly took control of the proceedings in the first half. In a 4-4-2 formation, with Todibo and Dante in the centre, Melvin Bard on the left for the first time in Europe, Thuram and Lemina in midfield and Pepe and Laborde up front, the Aiglons first made their opponents run. The plan was well implemented, with the ball in their possession and a desire to hold the ball with short passes and then attack with changes of pace. Pepe, the most dangerous man on the night, had two huge chances in the first half-hour. The first one went wide of Nguyen (9'), the second one hit the post (10'). Despite hitting the post, the ball stayed alive and Boudaoui gave it to Diop who failed to find the target in the box.
The Gym weren't troubled before the break, except for a Mihalic shot that was well saved by the ever-present Bulka, and some set pieces where Slovácko made use of their size.
A BIT OF LUCK AND A LOT OF COURAGE
After the break, the men from the coast took the lead in the 54th minute, thanks to the inevitable Nicolas Pepe. After a one-two on the edge of the box with Mario Lemina, another of the evening's standout performers, the Ivorian international unleashed a powerful shot. It looked easy enough to stopped, but it slipped under Nguyen's body, who at first seemed to have it under control, and the ball finished peacefully behind the goal line. Ironically, the opening goal came from the least dangerous shot of the match. That's the way football is. After this stroke of luck, the Gym continued to push forward, and Pepe, again, sent a rocket that crashed against Nguyen's bar (56').
In this match, the Gym had the misfortune of trying but not succeeding in finding a way to double the lead. It was therefore clear that they would have to suffer to keep their lead and turn it into a victory. Lucien Favre's team suffered in the last half hour (20 minutes + 7 minutes of extra time following the match interruption after a water bottle was thrown at Bulka) where the Czech coach made numerous changes to bring on size and impact up front. The home side pelted the Nice area with long balls - the home team style - but to no avail. The Nice defence denied all the attempts, and when it failed to do so, Bulka pulled out all the stops in front of Petrzela (80'), Kalabiska lacked precision, alone in the area, and Atal gave his all to stop a final attempt at the end of the night. A night in which Ramsey and Ilie were sent on by coach Favre to keep a precious lead.
Thanks to this victory, the Gym remains unbeaten in the C4 group stage and can look forward to the rest of the competition (the home game against Slovácko next Thursday) with confidence and optimism.
Before Europe, the Aiglons will have to carry on this form at home to Troyes, this Sunday (matchday 10, 15:00).
Envoyé spécial, Constantin Djivas
J-M. Ponte & M. Sekanina
Highlights: Slovacko 0-1 Nice
October 6 2022 18:45
In Uherské Hradiště
Stade Miroslava Valenty
Fryšták Borek Šimko Brecka Kohút Brandner Sinyavskiy
Schmeichel Boulhendi Bech Sørensen Beka Beka Rosario Bryan Brahimi Lotomba Viti
Shots on target