Ligue 1, Round 16, 29/12/2022
Nice and Lens played out a 0-0 draw in what was a tight match between two teams which seemed to cancel each other out at every occasion. Whilst Nice started brightly, it was the away side who found their rhythm in the first half, even having the ball in the back of the net following some neat play and a rebound to Florian Sotoca – bit the Frenchman was adjudged to be offside. Salis Abdul Samed shone in this period of the game, almost finishing off a brilliant solo-run after regaining possession in midfield.
Nice grew into the second half, and Nicolas Pépé was dangerous driving in behind the Lens defence on the right side and could have scored on multiple occasions – the Ivorian had the ball in the net but it was ruled out for a foul on Kevin Danso. The Aiglons managed Lens’ attacking threat, whilst creating further chances of their own to win the game. However, neither side could breakthrough and will share the points.
OGC Nice player ratings :
Rosario, 6 – Fitted in well in a back three with Dante and Todibo, looked assured on the ball and was defensively solid with the physical aspect of playing in a back three posing little problem against the likes of Saïd and Openda. Was combining well playing the ball out wide to the likes of Pépé in initiating attacking phases. Confident backheel clearance at the death would have given Lucien Favre a heart attack but showed a strong sense of assurance.
Boudaoui, 5 – Did well to deal with the threat of Seko Fofana on the left side and also had the ability to retain possession for periods where the Aiglons dominated the game and created chances. 10.4km was run by Boudaoui at wing-back, covering the highest amount of pitch than any other player.
Barkley, 4 – Characteristic of a lot of his performances in a Nice shirt, whilst the work rate was present there seemed to be an element of rustiness in his general play, struggling to be effective in possession and oftentimes losing the ball. Got into some interesting positions in the second half, but when given the opportunity to shoot on goal it was often hit without conviction – the sign of a player waning in confidence in front of goal.
Pépé, 7 – Threatened throughout the first half with his incisive runs down the right hand side. Showed great athleticism and often was the out-ball for Nice, using his pace to outrun Medina in what was surely a planned tactic. Yet he couldn’t provide a finishing touch to his good work, be it through a lack of support form teammates to push up, or some missing killer instinct.
Others: Diop, 5 Delort, 4 ,Lemina, 5
RC Lens player ratings :
Medina, 5 – A game of contradictions for Medina, who in possession was one of the most dangerous Lens players on the front foot – combining well with Machado and Fofana on the left hand side. Yet, he struggled to deal with the threat of Nicolas Pépé, who had a run of pace on the Argentine, and just about came out on top more often than not. This was no doubt in Franck Haise’s thinking when he was substituted midway through the second half.
Abdul Samed, 6 – Samed had an added spring in his step on his return from the World Cup, he confidently regained possession and skipped past 2-3 Nice players, and if it wasn’t for a save from Schmeichel would have scored one hell of a solo effort in the first half. Once again he expertly regained posession, but also added some attacking flair in moments, which led to multiple chances in the opening 45 minutes. The second half saw the midfielder retract slightly deeper back into a more defensive role where he did his job in his normal industrious fashion.
Fofana, 5 – Was threatening when played on the left side, often drifting in and linking up play between Machado, Sotoca, and Saïd. It was a position which suited his creative capabilities, yet his full attacking potential wasn’t quite realised with a lac of efforts on goal. The second half saw Fofana revert to his deeper position, which somewhat lowered his creative output.
Loïs Openda, 5 Haïdara, 5 Labeau Lascary, 5 Le Cardinal,5
GFFN | George Boxall