The game: 2-2
A two-faced team. This is how to sum up the performance of OGC Nice against Cologne. Thursday evening, Lucien Favre’s men left Germany on a parity score (2-2) after leading 2-0. But the main thing is elsewhere: the Aiglons have validated their ticket for the round of 16 of the Europa League Conference thanks to first place in their group.
The start of the game was not an example of fluidity, the defenses of both teams offering several ammunition to their opponents. It was also on a bad pass from Melvin Bard to Khéphren Thuram that Cologne got the first chance of the match. At 25 yards, Sargis Adamyan struck powerfully from the right. Enough to solicit Kasper Schmeichel (7th) for the first time. The Dane did it again a few minutes later, relaxing perfectly on a header from Steffen Tigges (26th).
But in the meantime, Nice has identified the shortcomings of a rigid defense and several times put in difficulty. On his left side, Billal Brahimi (see below) overtook the defense and served Gaëtan Laborde in withdrawal. Despite his slip and thanks to a favorable counter, the center-forward concluded with a strike from the left (40th). Three minutes later, Brahimi took advantage of a recovery from Atal to play Schindler and deceive the goalkeeper (43rd). The break was done.
In the second half, it was a completely different match for OGC Nice. Once again imperial against Adamyan (47th), Kasper Schmeichel let the ball slip between him and his first post on the following action, allowing Huseinbasic to reduce the score and reinvigorate his people (48th). Proof of the apathy of the people of Nice, Cologne took advantage of a free kick played quickly to initiate its transition. Huseinbasic served Duda, the Slovak took the opportunity to cross his shot and equalize (60th).
Two minutes later, madness took hold of the RheinEnergieStadion after Adamyan’s goal thought to give his team the advantage (62nd). The referee cut short the ambient euphoria by signaling an offside, a warning for the people of Nice. At the end of the match, the Aiglons gritted their teeth and managed to preserve the score, synonymous with first place in the group and qualification for the round of 16. Because at the same time, in the other match of the group, Partizan Belgrade and Slovacko left on a draw (1-1).
Player: Billal Brahimi
Discreet in the colors of the Aiglons until then, Billal Brahimi offered his supporters a successful match. Involved in the two goals of the Nice, he first made a nice raid on the left side, then delivered the center at the origin of the goal of Gaëtan Laborde (40th). On his way, he scored his first goal of the season 3 minutes later by closing his foot at the last moment, taking Marvin Schwäbe on the wrong foot (43rd).
The turning point: Adamyan’s goal disallowed for offside
Nice has not gone far from the correctional. Les Aiglons came under pressure from Cologne in the second half. After being joined in the 60th minute, the Nice people thought they saw the match and qualification slip through their fingers when Adamyan blew up the stadium in the 63rd minute. Fortunately for Schmeichel and the others, the linesman raised his flag and relieved the Nice people who were losing control.