Man of the match: Evann Guessand (7.5)
After a slow start, the Nice striker, who was lined up as a number 9, played a key role in his team’s latest home success. Very strong in the duel, whether he was facing the game, in the air or even near the box, he was the instigator of all Nice’s chances. He won and then converted the penalty that allowed the Gym to take the three points against Metz.
The record holder for the number of games without conceding a goal this season in the French league added another clean sheet to his tally this season, with his 12th match keeping his net intact since the start of the championship. He didn’t have to make a save in this match, as Metz only very rarely threatened the Polish goalkeeper in the end.
Once again a starter, the Nice left-back impressed in the defensive retreat, preventing Mikautadze from going all the way with his action in the first half. His contribution to the game is undeniable and he has hardened up physically as the matches go by. A new successful performance for the former Lyon player.
At 40 years old, the Brazilian captain of the Gym was once again sparkling in central defense. Apart from the action where he was caught out of position by Van Den Kerkhof, the former Bayern Munich player was practically unbeatable in the duel and he swept up an impressive number of balls in this game.
For his first Ligue 1 match since his stupid red card on the field of Le Havre in mid-December, the French international central defender showed how much his return is good for OGC Nice. He notably had a first half of very high level, and he touched a large hundred balls in this game.
As often, he did his defensive work and despite a surge from Sabaly in the second half, he did what was necessary to get the better of him. However, he can still contribute more offensively and the two or three times he managed to accelerate, he was able to cause damage in the Metz box. Substituted by Pablo Rosario (82′).
He was patient in this match where the first half did not allow him to express himself in the best possible conditions. The Burundian had a more and more important role as the match progressed. With nearly 90 balls touched, his influence in the game and the restarts is undeniable.
For his first start in several weeks, the OGC Nice midfielder did well and his impact was felt immediately. He was impressive in the first half and brought excitement to the opposing box. He then faltered a bit physically, but that seems normal. Substituted by Alexis Claude-Maurice (66′).
Double goalscorer at Bordeaux in the Coupe de France last weekend, the Nice midfielder was unable to follow up with a decisive gesture, but his activity was interesting this afternoon. If he sometimes lacked lucidity and speed in his choices, he is as often the player who has run the most kilometers in this match. Substituted by Hicham Boudaoui (82′).
For his first start in his new stadium, the former Real Sociedad player was interesting intermittently. The Metz defense often took him on several to block him, and he was also not very far from getting an assist on a corner but Thuram could not adjust Oukidja with his head. Substituted by Sofiane Diop (66′).
Once again aligned on a side, the Nice striker struggled to stand out, especially against a Metz formation that played in a block and that well muzzled the corridors and the axis. On the few balls touched in the box, he however forced Oukidja to a reflex in the first quarter of an hour. Substituted by Romain Perraud (90′).
Oukidja (7): The Metz goalkeeper didn’t have to make any spectacular saves, but he still did his job for most of the match. He anticipated Thuram’s header from Cho’s corner and also came out to deny Diop in the final quarter of an hour. However, he could do nothing about Guessand’s penalty.
Udol (5): The Metz captain put in a courageous performance, and apart from the first Nice chance where he was caught out by Laborde, he managed to prevent the Lotomba-Laborde right flank from combining regularly and creating danger from that side of the pitch.
Candé (5): Having returned from the Africa Cup of Nations this week after Guinea-Bissau’s elimination, the defender put in a solid performance but was tarnished by his avoidable foul on Guessand that gave Nice a penalty.
Traoré (6): The former SCO defensive rock put in a solid performance. He didn’t have to work too hard in the first half, and even though the pressure intensified in front of Oukidja’s goal after the break, the Ivorian defender didn’t drop in intensity in this match and was reliable for his team from start to finish.
Colin (5.5): With Van Den Kerkhof’s enormous work rate in the defensive midfield, he was confined to defensive duties and did well to hold off the attacking threat of Mohamed-Ali Cho. The introduction of Sofiane Diop didn’t change anything. He showed himself to be quite solid in this encounter in the end, but he will be frustrated with the result.
Jean-Jacques (6): A complete performance from the Haitian midfielder, who worked throughout the match to lock down the midfield, also preventing Ndayishimiye from being found in front of the Metz goal. He won a lot of duels and recovered a lot of balls this afternoon.
Nduquidi (5): The midfielder did what he could in this match. With the ball at his feet, he had very few opportunities to express himself, but he played an important role in the defensive phase. He had a decent but rather neutral match in the end, as his team didn’t have many opportunities to show themselves offensively. Replaced by Jean N’Guessan (80′).
N’Doram (5): The player trained at AS Monaco was present in terms of aggression, often in the right sense of the word, but he didn’t have an easy evening with the ball at his feet. He didn’t hide, but he sometimes struggled to exist, especially when Nice intensified their dominance near the Metz goal. Replaced by Arthur Atta (83′).
Sabaly (5.5): The Senegalese winger grew in influence, and in the second half he also caused problems for the Nice defense. Although he had few balls to express himself, he was still a danger to a generally defensively vigilant Nice backline. Replaced by Benjamin Tetteh (80′).
Van Den Kerkhof (6): Fresh from the Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria, the lively Metz player was directly named in the starting lineup for this match at the Allianz Riviera, and he was not far from being the best player on his team. He was involved in all of his team’s good attacking moves and was a constant threat to Nice. Replaced by Malick Mbaye (83′).
Mikautadze (5): In the early moments of the match, the Georgian was interesting in his movements and was close to cutting out a dangerous cross for the Nice defense. For the rest, it was still a difficult match for the former Ajax player, who returned this winter to help FC Metz in their relegation battle. Replaced by Oscar Estupinan (83′).