OGC Nice – Match Report vs Lyon 02/02/2020

In what was a feisty and very tactical affair, Nice came away the 2-1 victors thanks to a brace from striker Kasper Dolberg. It was a fairly hectic match, with both sides having a player sent off in the first half, but there weren’t too many clear cut chances for either side as both teams battled hard in midfield.

Initially, Nice set up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, with Claude-Maurice playing as the most advanced of a three man midfield and the wingers were able to push on when in possession. With Lyon having a man sent off in the 25th minute, Nice began to see more of the ball before Ounas saw red just shy of half time. So the teams went into half time at 1-1 and both with 10 men.

In the second half, Nice came out firing and adopted a 3-5-1 when in possession and were rewarded for their positivity as they scored with just over an hour gone. The final half an hour was nervy as Nice dropped increasingly deeper to protect their lead and wasted some good opportunities to put the game to bed on the counter attack, but in the end they were able to hold on for the three points.

Ratings

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Hicham Boudaoui

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Algerian
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 23/09/1999
  • Current Club: Nice
  • Career: Paradou AC, Nice
  • Position: Central Midfield
  • Secondary Position: 10 / Right Wing
  • Preferred foot: Right

Boudaoui excited the Nice fans throughout whilst playing as a right winger in this match. With the ball at his feet, the 20 year old was electrifying, with his first touch setting him up to drive at the full back and he was able to entice the defender into committing before using his tidy close control to move the ball. This skill when attacking combined with his impressive acceleration made the Algerian a constant threat to Lyon, especially on the counter attack.

When his side were in more comfortable possession, Boudaoui would drift out wide, stretching the full back. He’d look to then make clever runs in behind to look to receive passes through the gaps he had created, one of which led to him being put through on goal before being brought down. His final ball had the potential to cause problems for the opposition, registering a good assist from a driven cross to the near post and he made some other dangerous cut backs and deliveries in the final third. However, the Algerian did show some indecisiveness on occasion, making some loose passes or failing to get his cross in and this contributed to a nervy finish for Nice when they could have been out of sight after some quick counter attacks.

Defensively, the 5’9″ winger was also very solid, showing great willingness to track back and help his team. His defensive positioning and awareness was smart, pressing well whilst cutting passing lanes and showing the awareness to cover for his full back and track the run of the opposition player deep into his own half. Despite being slim in build, the Algerian used his pace to nip in front of opponents and battled aggressively in challenges, regularly winning the ball in midfield.

Overall, Boudaoui played a vital role in his side’s victory, posing a constant threat to Lyon whilst working hard for his team.

Rating: A1

Danilo Barbosa

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Brazilian
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 28/02/1996
  • Current Club: Nice
  • Career: Vasco de Gama, Braga, Valencia (L), Benfica (L), Standard Liège (L), Nice
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Central Midfield / Centre Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Playing as a central defender for Nice in this match, Danilo had a very promising game. The six foot Brazilian was defensively sound for the most part, demonstrating good levels of strength in duels to either muscle off his opponent or shield the ball. He rarely dived into tackles, staying composed and standing up his man, and he made some important challenges to win possession.

However, on a couple of occasions he was caught with his weight on his heels or too square to the attacker which meant he was beaten by the on-running player too easily, one example of which could be seen for Lyon’s goal as he was beaten by the winger. Yet he showed a good reaction to being beaten when there was space in behind him, not lunging in but instead using his impressive burst of pace to keep up with the attacker and usher them away from goal. He also made some vital aerial interventions in the defensive third, showing a good leap to reach and clear the ball to prevent any opportunities arising for Lyon.

In possession, Danilo was very confident and was happy to play out from the back, stepping up into midfield when his team had the ball during the second half. He seemed composed when passing and made some excellent progressive passes, even in behind the opposition defence. He was comfortable when under pressure, demonstrating some smart turns and driving out of defence well, but needed to be careful that he did not take too many risks and lose possession in potentially dangerous areas.

Danilo had a good game, making some vital defensive contributions whilst also being composed when playing out from the back.

Rating: A2

Kasper Dolberg

Player profile:

  • Nationality: Danish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of birth: 06/10/1997
  • Current Club: Nice
  • Career: Silkeborg IF, Ajax, Nice
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

Although not everything Kasper Dolberg attempted came off, his hard work and willingness to chase down lost causes paid off as he scored two classic “poacher’s” goals that saw his team come out eventual winners.

The 6’1 striker battled hard for his team, constantly grappling with the Lyon defenders and for the most part holding up the ball well for his team. He pressed cleverly, cutting off passing lanes or chasing down defenders from angles which made him hard to see coming, pressing the opposition as they moved wide and splitting the centre backs. The 22 year old also chased down any loose balls or shots and this was where his first goal came from, tapping in a rebound from the keeper’s save.

The Dane’s first touch was varied, sometimes allowing him to hold up the play or get away from his man, but other times losing possession for his side and seeing several of his passes get cut out. He also made some flicks that were perhaps examples of trying to overcomplicate things when either a first time shot or solid touch would have been more appropriate. However, he also made some clever passes and turns and was full of confidence in possession, not shying away from taking a shot or taking on his man. The striker’s movement was perhaps his most dangerous asset, drifting off the back of defenders before darting in front of them as the cross is delivered, and this paid dividends in the second half when he got in front of the centre back to bundle home from 6 yards out.

Overall, playing as the lone striker for his team, Dolberg worked incredibly hard and showed great promise as he scored two goals, perhaps he could have taken better care of the ball when receiving passes in order to retain possession more consistently and relieve any pressure that may have been on his team.

Rating: A2

Alexis Claude-Maurice

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 06/06/1998
  • Current Club: Nice
  • Career: Lorient, Nice
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Secondary Position: 10 / Left Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Deployed as the most advanced of a three man central midfield with instructions to pick the ball up and drive at the opposition whilst offering support to the forwards, Alexis Claude-Maurice had a good game all round, showing glimpses of brilliance.

The Frenchman grew into the game in possession, starting off quite loose and losing the ball on a few occasions through poor passes or first touches. Yet as the game progressed and opened up with the two sending offs, Claude-Maurice began to become more influential in the transition from middle to final third for Nice. Once the ball was under his spell, he showed great close control to beat his man and linked up well with his teammates to create openings.

He adopted dangerous positions between the opposition lines and provided a key forward driving force from midfield for his team. In the final third he made some clever passes and had freedom to drift wide and support the wingers as well as striker, and this allowed him to cut inside from the left on a couple of occasions and unleash threatening shots, one of which whistled just wide whilst the other came back out off the base of the post. Defensively, the 21 year old worked adequately hard for his team and dropped back sufficiently to cover in midfield and press the opposition.

Overall, despite giving the ball away at times, Claude-Maurice provided an important attacking outlet for Nice.

Rating: A2

Khephren Thuram

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 26/03/2001
  • Current Club: Nice
  • Career: AC Boulogne-Billancourt (Y), Monaco, Nice
  • Position: Defensive Midfield
  • Secondary Position: Central Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Khephren Thuram showed promise from holding midfield, but also exposed parts of his game which could be improved upon in future. The Frenchman was defensively sound for Nice, providing needed protection and cover for the back four. At around 6’3″, he was strong and aggressive in the tackle, winning possession cleanly, whilst also being an aerial presence at both ends. He was rarely beaten and if he was then he recovered well to get back into position. His covering for the back four was impressive as he made some vital blocks of both crosses and shots in his own penalty area and he was rarely caught out of position, filling the gap between defence and midfield.

In possession, Thuram was less consistent, making some loose passes and having some shakey first touches that led to losing the ball on a few occasions. This poor control could have been due to either a lack of concentration or due to being under pressure with defenders bearing down on him. However, once he did have control of the ball, the 19 year old was composed and sensible. He was happy to pass it around the back but he was also capable of making progressive passes and made some effective switches of play.

The young midfielder put in an impressive defensive shift and showed good vision in a display that was only let down by his control at times, before being withdrawn with 20 minutes to go.

Rating: B1

Stanley Nsoki

Player profile:

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 09/04/1999
  • Current Club: Nice
  • Career: PSG, Nice
  • Position: Left Back
  • Secondary Position: Central Defender
  • Preferred foot: Left

Stanley NSoki was solid yet unremarkable at left back for Nice, showing glimpses of quality but also giving the ball away too often.

The defender’s passing was below par at times, giving away possession needlessly with loose passes or touches. He showed that he was capable of being productive in possession with some positive drives and passes but he was very inconsistent.

At 5’10” and with a relatively sturdy build, Nsoki was strong in duels, defending well to win possession or force a mistake. He made some very important interventions for his team, showing good awareness and commitment to make brave challenges and he used his pace and body well to shield the ball. For the majority of the match, the Frenchman tracked his runner adequately, but he did get caught out on a couple of occasions and showed a lack of concentration to lose his man at the back post at one stage.

Overall, Nsoki had a mixed game, giving away possession too cheaply but also making some vital defensive contributions.

Rating: B2

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