Catastrophic Defeat for Nice

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 26, 2018 16:57

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Catastrophic Defeat for Nice

By Satish Sekar at the Allianz Riviera © Satish Sekar (August 25th 2018)

Sharp Learning Curve

OGC Nice coach Patrick Vieira described tonight’s 4-0 defeat to Dijon as “catastrophic”. His first taste of European management is giving the former Arsenal legend a very steep learning curve as his team were understandably booed off the park at the end. Mario Balotelli remains on Nice’s books, and having completed a three match ban will be expected to return for the next match, against Olympique Lyonnais, who beat Strasbourg 2-0 yesterday.

There were few positives for Vieira. First half profligacy cost Nice dear. Myziane Maolida did very well to latch on to Danilo Barbosa da Silva’s lob, to beat keeper Runar Runarsson to the ball and round him to the left before squaring it – a ball that cried out for Pierre Lees-Melou to score against his old club. Lees-Melou mishit his shot badly, missing by a distance. Maolida was equally profligate with a very poorly directed header from Olivier Boscagli’s cross from the left wing.

Two Halves

It’s been a meteoric rise to prominence for Moroccan graduate of the Mohammed VI Academy in Salé, Nayef Aguerd. He made the cut for Hervé Renard’s squad for the World Cup and earned a move to Europe. Aguerd is one of the success stories of the Moroccan academy and its former Director Nasser Larguet waxed lyrical about the talent of Moroccan football’s new generation, led by Aguerd and co.

Aguerd’s debut was a mixed bag. He started ‘dangerously’ according to his coach Olivier Dall’oglio, picking up a yellow card for a crude challenge on Allan Saint-Maximin after just 5 minutes. Saint-Maximin would earn referee, Willy Delajod’s wrath for simulation after 54 minutes. Just under a quarter of an hour later Aguerd would crown his debut with a goal – the winner, as it turned out. Enzo Loidice’s cross from the left wing was headed back across keeper Yoan Cardinale by Aguerd to give the visitors a lead they never relinquished

Nice almost responded immediately through a sublime reverse pass by Barbosa da Silva which put Bassem Srarfi in on the right, but the angle proved too tight, resulting in him hitting the side netting. Substtitute Jules Keita turned the match on its head in a crazy last ten minutes. First he supplied the assist for Oussama Hadadi to score from a tight angle at Cardinale’s near post – he should not have been beaten like that, and then he got booked, before adding a brace of his own.

After headed ping-pong between Benjamin Jeannot and Julio Tavares – the latter’s nod on being the assist, Keita rounded Cardinale to slot in the third. He made it 4 in the third minute of added time, after combining with Valentin Rosier. Dijon are second in Ligue Un to Paris Saint-Germain, despite an identical goal difference. They are the only teams to have a perfect start after three matches. Meanwhile, Nice are 17th – Guincamp and Bordeaux play tomorrow, knowing that anything but defeat would see them send Nice into the relegation places. Clearly, it’s early days, but Vieira has much to do.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 26, 2018 16:57