PLAYER RATINGS | Nice earn late draw against Nantes in controversial circumstances

Ligue 1, Round 12, 23/10/22

Tempers flared towards the end of a 1-1 draw at the Allianz Riviera. Nantes felt aggreived not to have been awarded a penalty in the frst-half when Mattia Viti handled the ball not once, but twice in the box. 

Nantes did take the lead early in the second-half. Ignatius Ganago clinically dispatched Moses Simon’s pass across goal. Nice’s reaction to going behind was non-existent. They showed little fight, and were whistled by the disapproving home fans when in possession. 

As the clock ticked away, it looked unlikely that Lucien Favre’s men would rescue anything from the tie, but late drama saw Nice scrape a point. Jean-Charles Castelletto handled the ball in the box, although arguably, Dante fouled the Cameroonian defender, by using his shoulders to jump. Arsenal loanee Nicolas Pépé then dispatched the penalty, cuing scenes of outrage. 

Kader Bamba, who didn’t even make it onto the pitch was sent off, before Lafont, who had already received a yellow for protesting the inital penalty, then received a second after the full-time whistle. On the wrong side of both big decisions, Nantes will feel this is a game where two points were lost. 

OGC Nice – 1

Kasper Schmeichel – 4

Mattia Viti – 3 – The former Empoli man was lucky to not give away a penalty after juggling the ball in the box in the first-half. The ball struck both arms, but neither was adjudged to be in an unnatural position. There was an air of nervousness about the defender before he was hooked at the hour mark. 

Dante – 4

Jean-Clair Todibo – 5

Joe Bryan – 4

Ross Barkley – 5 – The former Englishman had some bright moments without proving the difference. His well-struck volley early in the first-half could have proved problematic for Nantes had it not been straight at Lafont. Charged with being a creative outlet for Nice, he was responsible for losing possession on numerous occasions, although that wasn’t necessarily down to his own ineptitude. 

Mario Lemina – 5

Khéphren Thuram – 5

Jordan Lotomba – 5

Nicolas Pépé – 6 – The Arsenal loanee struck the post with a curling effort in the first-half and looked to have struck up a good understanding with Thuram. The pair had a couple of nice interchanges, but they essentially amounted to nothing. All too often he cut an isolated figure up top, alluding to a structural, tactical problem for Lucien Favre’s side. He handled the pressure of the last-minute penalty well, sending Lafont the wrong way. 

Gaëtan Laborde – 5

Others: Atal (4), Ramsey (4), Brahimi (4), Boudaoui (4)

FC Nantes – 1

Alban Lafont – 6 –  He wasn’t called into action often, but when he was, he was impeccable. He dominates his box, and his save from Laborde in the second-half was crucial. He was arguably second-favourite when the French striker swivelled in the box, but he made himself big to make the stop. He was foolishly sent off after receiving two yellow cards for protesting a controversial late Niçois penalty.

Quentin Merlin – 5

Nicolas Pallois – 6

Andrei Girotto – 7 – He was imperious at the back. Nothing and no-one got past him. His positioning and reading of the game was perfect, and helped Nantes nullify what on paper looked like a frightening Nice attack 

Dennis Appiah – 4

Pedro Chirivella – 6

Samuel Moutoussamy – 6

Moses Simon – 6

Moussa Sissoko – 5

Ludovic Blas – 6

Ignatius Ganago – 7 – There weren’t many clear-cut chances in this encounter, but when the opportunity came he pounced. He only had one shot all game, but it was a decisive one. 

Others: Centonze (6), Mohamed (5), Castellotto (3), Corchia (N/A), Coco (N/A)

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