There's only one left, and it could go on and on. The last French representative in the European Cups this season, the Nice club won in Chisinau, capital of Moldova, against Sheriff Tiraspol (1-0), Thursday March 9, thanks to a happy goal from young Ayoub Amraoui, in the round of 16 first leg of the Europa League Conference.
In complicated conditions, the men of Didier Digard, still undefeated with seven victories in ten games as the club's main coach, take an option for qualification before the return match in a week at the Allianz Riviera. However, nothing is certain: in the previous round, the Sheriff had indeed lost in the first leg in Chisinau against Partizan Belgrade (1-0), before qualifying 3-1 in Serbia.
Nice, which, on the return, will be deprived of its suspended captain Dante, has also not shown real superiority, despite sometimes superior collective play. The first period was unworthy of a European meeting. Disputed on a poor lawn, it opposed a Nice formation without the intention of taking excessive risks, and a Moldavian formation, whose sole objective was to counter.
Lack of spontaneity
In a 3-5-2 with 18-year-old Franco-Moroccan youngster Ayoub Amraoui and Jordan Lotomba as attacking corridor players, Nice didn't offer enough movement to destabilize their opponent.
Like the very expensive winter recruit who arrived from Lorient, Terem Moffi, who was never found, the Digard team lacked spontaneity. The first strike, countered, also came very late (38th). It was the work of Pablo Rosario, the least attacking midfielder.
Fortunately for them, the Aiglons were able to count on success. That of the beginner Amraoui. For his third consecutive pro tenure, the Varois international Moroccan U20 who arrived at 15 in Nice saw his center turn into a perfect lob on the Ukrainian goalkeeper of the Sheriff, Maxym Koval (0-1, 45 3).
Caution for the return match
A single shot on target and a goal just before the break: the Niçois could not have asked for better when it came time to return to the locker room. Especially since, a few moments earlier, Dante had offered a good free kick to his opponents, after a severe foul on Abdoul Tapsoba. But Mouhamed Diop hit the gloves of Kasper Schmeichel (45th).
On the Moldavian side, it was the right side of the Sheriff, Armel Zohouri, ex-Niçois who signed in Transnistria at the start of the season, who sounded the revolt of the Sheriff, who had become dominating. His center ricocheted off the crossbar of Schmeichel (72nd). Previously, the stirring Tapsoba had played the Dante-Todibo duo but he did not frame his volley (59th).
Opposite, the only quality Nice collective sequence resulted in a missed shot from Lotomba (67th). And on a corner, Dante hit the post without Rosario being able to double the bet (81st). So be careful, the return match promises to be more open than expected.