Ligue 1 Uber Eats Matchday 16
Entertaining, intense, but goalless
After a breathless and entertaining match, Le Gym and RC Lens cancelled each other out 0-0 on Thursday night in Week 16 of the Ligue 1 season. The Côte d'Azur outfit produced a solid performance that confirmed the club is moving in the right direction.
The ninth-placed Nice and second-placed Lens couldn't be separated on the pitch and despite the match finishing scoreless, the 25,000 fans that turned up at Allianz Riviera left thoroughly entertained. The only thing that was missing was a goal in an otherwise epic, tough, electric, breathless and magnificent duel. And even then, both Sotoca (21') and Pepe (76') had the ball in the back of the net before being ruled out for offside.
Le Gym turned out in a 3-4-3 formation, with almost the same starting XI that took on Tottenham in the last autumn warm-up match (1-1). The two changes came on the wings, where Lotomba and Bard took the place of Mendy and Bryan (see the formation in the team sheet). It was an even first half, with both teams having great scoring opportunities: Gradit missed the target after a high turnover (6'), Pepe responded on the counter, only to be denied by Samba (8'), Saïd didn't get his header on target and Barkley saw his shot blocked (10'), Schmeichel put an end to Abdul Samed's dribbling run with a decisive save (32'), Lotomba stung Samba's glove (45')... (check out all the chances here!).
DEFENCES ON TOP
While Les Sang et Or finished the first half the better, Les Aiglons attacked the second with a vengeance. Led by the impressive duo of Boudaoui and Thuram in midfield - which compensated for its numerical inferiority with pure energy -, an electric Pepe, a physical Laborde and a lively Barkley, the hosts took the ascendancy. Unfortunately, there was always something missing in the final movement, like Ross Barkley, whose brilliant football playing in between the lines deserved a goal, but whose finishing (61' and 65') let him down.
Nice never managed to open the scoring and Lens, with fresh legs, came forward again in the final stages, without troubling excellent Rouge et noir defence, marshalled by the imperious Todibo, Dante and Rosario.
In a game that always threatened to explode, Nice's fifth-ranked defence in L1 before the midweek round of matches and the second-ranked defence (Lens) ended up holding firm.
It should also be noted that the previously injured Lemina, Diop and Delort all made appearances off the bench. Next up for Les Aiglons: a trip to Rennes, who lost 3-1 to Reims on Thursday, this coming Monday at 9pm French time.
The album from Nice v. Lens
Nice 0-0 Lens : Highlights
December 29 2022 21:00
- Abdul Samed
Boulhendi Mendy Bryan Beka Beka Ilie Brahimi
Bonte Boura Fortes Leca Poreba
Pepe (77') Diop (77')
Saïd (45') Machado (60') Gradit (77')
Shots on target