Ligue 1, Round 12, 10/11/23
Francesco Farioli continued his unbeaten run as manager of OGC Nice, but his side were contained by Montpellier HSC in a tepid 0-0 draw.
Heading into the game, Nice were yet to trail so far this season, but had themselves scored only 13 goals, despite occupying top spot in Ligue 1. It was therefore no surprise that chances were very much at a premium in the first half. Akor Adams went close to ending Nice’s impressive record of not trailing but having earned a yard on Jean-Clair Todibo, the Nigerian forward’s shot crashed against the outside of the post.
Momentarily, spaces opened up and Jérémie Boga profited from that, driving at the Montpellier defence and laying off Badredine Bouanani. However, the Algerian, starting his first match of the season for Les Aiglons, scuffed his effort wide. Clear-cut chances remained hard to come by in the second half. In a rare foray forward, Khéphren Thuram blasted over.
Adams then struck the post again with a close-range header but had he scored, the goal would have been ruled out by a fairly clear offside. Neither side carved up another opening, despite Nice showing more intent in the closing stages. Montpellier and Nice therefore shared the points. The latter remain top but could be caught by Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco on Saturday.
Nice player ratings
Marcin Bulka – 5
Melvin Bard – 7 – left-back has been a problem position for Nice in recent seasons, with the club attempting on two occasions to make an upgrade on Bard. However, on both occasions, the Frenchman has upped his level to beat the new competition and retain his place. Romain Perraud is hardly getting a look in and Bard showed why once again against Montpellier, with what was another impressive performance. He was efficient, strong and intense in the duels and progressed the ball well. Perraud may need to wait a little longer to get his chance.
Dante – 6
Jean-Clair Todibo – 7 – celebrated his call-up to the France national team with a strong performance. Was isolated one-on-one against Adams in the first half with the latter earning a yard of space for a shot, but he was otherwise imperious. Calm in possession, as always, and was also decisive in the defensive phases when called upon, notably getting an important touch on the ball to prevent Adams from another big chance.
Pablo Rosario – 4
Hicham Boudaoui – 6
Khéphren Thuram – 7 – in his unfamiliar No.6 role due to Youssouf Ndayishimiye’s absence, his explosivity was largely restricted, bar a couple of forays into the final third. It was nonetheless a solid and intelligent performance from Thuram, who defended his back-line well and kept Nice ticking in possession. Thuram is better as a box-to-box midfielder, but he has shown himself more than capable of filling in at defensive midfield.
Morgan Sanson – 5
Jérémie Boga – 4
Terem Moffi – 4
Badredine Bouanani – 6 – starting for the first time this season, the young Algerian was efficient when on the ball, bar his scuffed finish in the first half. He has done enough to stake a claim for more minutes. Was too peripheral at times, but that issue was more systemic than anything else.