Don’t be nice. Beat Nice.By: Nikhil Apte | May 18th, 2013
OGC Nice vs. Olympique Lyonnais
Matchday 37, Stade du Ray, Ligue 1 – 2012/13
This is the biggest match of the season for Nice. It is their last match EVER at Stade du Ray before moving to the new Allianz Riviera for the next season. For Nice, it is a must-win not just for sentimental reasons, but to get a chance to bring the Champions League home for next season. For Claude Puel, the time for revenge for the 3-0 defeat at Stade Gerland is NOW. For OL, not winning here will mean praying hard in the last match next week when things will not be their hand.
- Image credit : olweb.fr
Going into the last two matches, it is all incredibly tense. Remi Garde is tired of talking points. Lille are net just 2 goals away from crossing over Lyon’s goal difference of +21. And just 3 points away. PSG secured the title at their weekend win at the Gerland while Marseille is rooted at second place by default. Us winning tonight’s match and anything other than a win for Lille means sure qualification for Champions League playoffs 2013-14.. Any other result and it will go down to the wire for the last day! All matches start at the same kick-off times of 2100 tonight and for the next match as well in classic showdown style. Only the 3rd-4th-5th and 18th-19th places are worth playing for and not playing for respectively.
The Nice OL duel started in the 1950s and today will be one of the most important confrontations in their history together. Nice has won the last two home matches with six goals and just one conceded, while Lyon showcases the third best away record in Ligue 1 currently. OGC Nice is peaking at a great time – the end of the season. Having been near 10th spot in the table for the first half of the footballing year, they have rarely given up the fight for the European spots. A lot of credit goes to Nice striker Dario Cvitanich who has notched up 17 goals (one better than Bafe Gomis). He’s sure to be on a few wish lists in the transfer window!
Lyon peaked during November-December of last year. And has been happy playing catchup since. A bit too happy, in fact, looking at the way we let 2nd spot slip since March. For tonight, out of the many permutations, a Lille loss to Montpellier and a Lyon draw should also be sufficient to confirm the 3rd spot once again.
Alexandre Lacazette was sorely offensively missed in the second half against PSG. Gourcuff has achieved his short-term target of getting back into the National team for the Brazil/Uruguay friendly clashes in June. Gomis is in the forwards group too. For some reason, Gonalons didn’t make the cut this time. For some reason, Steed Malbranque has not been under consideration for the first team suddenly. He was part of the subs against PSG but did not feature. Perhaps Grenier-Gonalons and a working condition Gourcuff don’t leave him with much claim to the first team. Keeper Anthony Lopes did quite well against PSG, except for the Jeremy Menez shot, though the defence was to blame for that. I though Bakary Kone did well alongside Umtiti too, to keep PSG at 1 goal and Zlatan irritated.
The talking point of the match may well end up being the referee, however! Clement Turpin seems to be still mourning the loss of his gold fish as he continues to send people off all the time. 14 times in 19 games this season! We ask for a fair fight (and a lot of red cards against Nice).
Allez Allez Allez!