Ligue 1, Round 22, 05/02/2023
OGC Nice beat Olympique de Marseille 3-1 in the Mediterranean derby on Sunday. Les Aiglons continue their recent revival under Didier Digard, whilst Les Phocéens lose touch with league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who now have an eight-point cushion.
Marseille began with the intent to press Nice high, and Les Aiglons were under pressure in the opening minutes, every touch contested, even deep inside their own half. However, Nice managed to find the solutions, playing their way through the press to create the first opening of the derby. The ball fell to Khéphren Thuram on the edge of the box, but unmarked, the Frenchman couldn’t hit the target.
It was a bit let off for Les Phocéens who stuck insistently to their game plan. Despite their hassling and harrying, the Nice defensive wall was resolute, whilst Didier Digard’s men looked increasingly comfortable in possession. Their growth in the game was reflected on the scoreboard before half-time. Gaëtan Laborde’s well-hit shot from outside the box was parried by Pau López, but only into the path of Sofiane Diop, who headed home from close range.
That lead was doubled shortly after through Laborde, who this time profited from another poorly parried López save to tuck home confidently and unchallenged in the Marseille box.
Marseille came out from the break with renewed energy and re-established their dogged high press. The pressure ultimately told as Ruslan Malinovskyi scored his first goal from a Jonathan Clauss ball across goal. However, Marseille struggled to regularly forge openings, and it was instead Billal Brahimi who completed the scoring with a brilliant curled effort. The spoils of this Mediterranean derby go to Les Niçois.
Marseille player ratings
Pau Lopez – 3 – He didn’t have a lot to do, but wasn’t up to the task when called into action during the first-half. Shots from Laborde and Thuram was parried right back into danger and were punished. His ability to deflect balls into the wide errors proved costly for Les Phocéens.
Leonardo Balerdi – 4
Samuel Gigot – 5
Chancel Mbemba – 4
Nuno Tavares – 3 – Moves often broke down with the Arsenal loanee, who lost the ball on 22 occasions during the tie. One of his most glaring weaknesses, his one-on-one defending, was highlighted on several occasions with just one of his 10 ground duels won. He also switched off for Nice’s second goal, allowing Laborde to shoot unchallenged to double Les Aiglons’ lead. Nice’s third also came down his side, the Portuguese not even in shot as Billal Brahimi put the game to bed.
Mattéo Guendouzi – 5
Valentin Rongier – 5
Jonathan Clauss – 5
Dimitri Payet – 4
Vitinha – 4 – Thrust into the starting XI after his move to Marseille late in the transfer window, the former Braga striker had a largely anonymous debut, registering just one off-target shot. In his defence, the service bordered on non-existent.
Cenzig Ünder – 5
Ruslan Malinovskyi – 6 – Made an immediate impact off the bench with a brilliant first-time finish into the top corner to score his first Ligue 1 goal.
Alexis Sánchez – 5
Monaco player ratings
Kasper Schmeichel – 7 – The Danish goalkeeper is becoming increasingly influential, decisive and composed. Another brilliant performance from the former Leicester City goalkeeper, who couldn’t do anything about Malinovskyi’s goal.
Jean-Clair Todibo – 8 – Imperious. His interventions were often pivotal, his positioning impeccable and his distribution perfectly measured. Todibo has been a centrepiece of Nice’s recent uptick in form, and the Frenchman is once again reaching last year’s levels.
Dante – 6
Youssouf Ndayishimiye – 7
Melvin Bard – 6
Khéphren Thuram – 7 – Bar his early miss, it was another impressive performance from Thuram, who was, as always a progressive force in the Nice midfield. His press resistance was particularly important to Les Aiglons in the first half, and allowed them to turn the tide and establish a two-goal advantage.
Aaron Ramsey – 5
Jordan Lotomba – 7 – He was calm and composed in the opening minutes when Nice were under the cosh and having to play out from dangerous positions, especially from his right-back position, which seemed to be a pressing trigger. Equally as impressive with his one-on-one defending on the night.
Gaëtan Laborde – 7
Sofiane Diop – 6 – Clinical in taking his only chance of the game. He was tidy rather than spectacular, which perhaps epitomises his time at Nice thus far. He isn’t yet regularly displaying the penetrative dribbling for which he became renowned at Monaco, but signs of growth are evident.
Terem Moffi – 6
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