PLAYER RATINGS | Nice 1-0 Lille: Kasper Schmeichel inspires Nice to narrow victory

Ligue 1, Gameweek 20, 29/01/23

A Kasper Schmeichel-inspired OGC Nice earned a narrow victory against Lille OSC (1-0). Gaëtan Laborde scored the only goal of the game, profiting from a Rémy Cabella mistake.

Lille should have been at least three up, if not four by the time Nice scored their opener. Mohamed Bayo, Rémy Cabella and Timothy Weah all forced Schmeichel into huge saves when 1v1. Cabella had another huge chance just a few yards out, but ragged wide of the goal when it looked easier to score. 

Les Dogues didn’t take their chances and they were punished. Cabella, who endured a horror-show of a first-half, fed Badredine Bouanani through on goal, and with all the time in the world, he passed across the goal to Gaëtan Laborde, who couldn’t miss with the open goal gaping. 

Schmeichel’s heroics continued into the second-half. He made an important save from Bafodé Diakité to maintain Nice’s slender advantage. However, that lead should have been doubled, and it would have been if not for the legs of Lucas Chevalier, who denied Aaron Ramsey. 

Jonathan David, who had been largely anonymous, got a couple of chances to level, but he couldn’t make good contact with either shot from inside the Nice box. Neither side managed to create a clear-cut opportunity before the final whistle, meaning that Nice close the gap to the European places to nine points. They are eighth, six points behind today’s opponents Lille. 

Nice player ratings

Kasper Schmeichel – 9 – Scheimchel’s best game in a Nice shirt. The former Leicester City goalkeeper has come in for criticism since his summer move, and rightly so at times. However, he was the difference between victory and defeat against Lille. In the first-half alone, he made three crucial 1v1 saves from Bayo, Cabella and Weah. Les Aiglons could easily have been three goals down before they scored their opener. This victory is in large part thanks to Schmeichel’s heroics. 

Melvin Bard – 6

Dante – 6 – The Brazilian looked in trouble in the opening stages, and understandably struggled to contain a pacy Lille attack. The former Bayern Munich centre-back took a yellow card for a cynical challenge with Lille breaking in behind, but as the game wore on, Dante asserted his dominance, especially when Nice dropped into a lower block, reducing the space behind the defence. 

Jean-Clair Todibo – 5

Khéphren Thuram – 7 – He is such an elegant player and exudes confidence, calm and control. After a difficult start to the season, Thuram is beginning to refind his best form. Against Lille he was always in the right place and made the right choices. He makes even the most difficult of actions look so easy, and some perfectly-executed progressive passes really helped his side create chances. 

Hicham Boudaoui – 6

Aaron Ramsey – 5

Sofiane Diop – 4

Gaëtan Laborde – 6 – Not the Frenchman’s most influential game, but he did prove the difference, scoring into an empty net to give Nice a crucial win. 

Badredine Bouanani – 7 – The Frenchman was making his first start for Nice, and it came against his former club. He stood out from the first minute with some deft touches and eye-catching pieces of skill. Much of Nice’s joy came down his flank, and it was largely thanks to the debutant, who Les Dogues struggled to contain throughout.

Lille player ratings

Lucas Chevalier – 5

Ismaily – 4

José Fonte – 5

Tiago Djalo – 5

Bafodé Diakite – 4

Angel Gomes – 5

Leny Yoro – 5

Rémy Cabella – 2 – Nice’s best outfield player. He missed two huge close-range 1v1s, dragging his first inexplicably wide of the mark. He then set up Nice’s opener with a slack back pass straight into the path of Bouanani, who had all the time in the world to pick out Laborde, who made no mistake putting the ball into the open net. Cabella’s move to Lille has been a success thus far this season, but this is an afternoon that he will be keen to quickly forget. 

Jonathan David – 5 – A really anonymous performance from one of the divisions most prolific strikers. He couldn’t get himself into the game, and when the ball did eventually come his way, he lacked his usual clinical touch, undoubtedly a bi-product of his lack of involvement in the tie. 

Timothy Weah – 7 – The American, who has been tested in a variety of positions this season, was a constant threat at right-wing. On the counter, he had the pace to get in behind, and the composure to put the ball on a plate for his teammates. On another day he would have had a couple of assists to his name. He should, however, have done better when 1v1 against Schmeichel, but credit to the Danish goalkeeper who made himself imposing when he was second favourite to make the save. 

Mohamed Bayo – 4 – Should have done better with his one big chance. 

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