Europa League Conference – Winner of Slovacko, Nice finally takes off in Europe

At the end of the effort, Nice finally won its first victory on European soil. It will therefore have been necessary to wait for their third group match of the Europa League Conference to see the Aiglons exult at the final whistle. After two draws against Partizan Belgrade (1-1) and Cologne (1-1), OGC Nice, carried by a great Nicolas Pépé (a goal, a post, a cross), managed to take the best, no without difficulty, on the little thumb of the group, the Czech club FC Slovacko (1-0). In the standings, the Gym temporarily takes first place in Group D, ahead of Cologne and Partizan Belgrade. A good omen for the future.

Europa League Conference

Bulka hit in the shoulder by a goblet full of beer


While we had reason to worry for the Aiglons during the first five minutes of play (2 corners and a shot conceded), Lucien Favre’s players quickly adapted to the Czech climate. At least in appearance. Well helped by the incessant movements of Melvin Bard and Youcef Atal on their corridors, the Niçois forced their opponents from Slovacko to defend, tirelessly. Withdrawn in front of their area, the 10th in the Czech Republic championship had no other choice than to turn their backs… and bet on luck.

Dominating is not winning

Because the least we can say is that they had some. Upon receiving a superb cross from Youcef Atal, Nicolas Pépé sent a marvelous uncrossed header leaving the Czech goalkeeper unmoved: right on the post (10th). When the ball fell, Sofiane Diop then missed the inevitable, he who had his first goal in the Nice jersey at the end of his foot. There followed long minutes of domination (65% possession), rendered sterile until the break by the rough defense of the locals (only three shots, all off target for the Aiglons). Once again, the adage does not lie: dominating does not necessarily mean winning. Enough to make Lucien Favre mad with rage, whose talk had to be severe.

It must be said that Nice, which has won only two matches since the start of the season (in Ligue 1, two draws in the Europa Conference League), has once again proven that it is having a hard time finding an identity. game. Certainly jostled by the desire to break their bad dynamic, the Aiglons returned to the lawn of Miroslava Valenty with a knife between their teeth.

Grandpa pulls out all the stops

And it was Nicolas Pépé who sounded the Nice revolt. Perfectly found at the entrance to the surface, the former Gunner took his chance with a sudden strike, although too crushed. While one could logically think that the goalkeeper of Slovacko was going to quietly seize the ball, the latter slipped from his hands to finish his race… behind the goal line (1-0, 54th). It was enough to make the Nice side explode with joy, who, galvanized, did everything to put pressure on the Czech goalkeeper, inevitably affected by this gross lack of handling.

Nicolas Pépé, again him, then smashed the crossbar in the same position as that of his opener (57th). But the match had to be stopped moments before the hour mark when Marcin Bulka was hit by a projectile in the neck from the stands. This completely annihilated the strong moment of the Niçois, who were no longer content to do anything but hunker down in order to keep their advantage in the score. At the end of the effort, the main thing was done: Nice left the Czech Republic with three new points, synonymous with first place in group D while waiting for the meeting between Belgrade and Cologne. Return match next Thursday.

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