Ligue 1: Brest's podium threatened, Nice secures its place in the European Cup

Will Stade Brestois manage to hang on to the podium until the end? Lacking success, the Breton team could not do better than a draw (1-1) against Reims, Friday May 10, for the 33rd and penultimate day of Ligue 1

Ligue 1: Brest's podium threatened, Nice secures its place in the European Cup

Will Stade Brestois manage to hang on to the podium until the end? Lacking success, the Breton team could not do better than a draw (1-1) against Reims, Friday May 10, for the 33rd and penultimate day of Ligue 1. This result places it below the threat from Lille and Nice, who could ultimately snatch third place in the standings, synonymous with direct qualification for the Champions League.

With 58 points, but a goal difference worse than that of the Northerners, who are 3 points away, Brest could be overtaken in the event of a victory for LOSC against Nantes on Sunday. And Nice, which, thanks to its success against Le Havre on Friday evening (1-0), is in 5th position with 54 units and a match in hand, is also mathematically capable of beating Brest at the post. For this to happen, the latter would have to lose in Toulouse, for the last day, and Lille and Nice will face each other for the 34th trick.

Friday, without Pierre Lees-Melou, who came to receive his prize as best Brest player of the season before the match, but whose season is over after a fractured fibula, and Romain Del Castillo, in trouble with a calf, Brest once again lacked inspiration, creativity and, frankly, sometimes talent.

There was plenty of commitment, combativeness and generosity, however, and against Reims, who recovered after the humiliation against Clermont (4-1), it was essential. . Because the Brestois found an athletic response in the team led for the first time by Samba Diawara, responsible for finishing the season after the sidelining of Will Still.

Lack of Brest realism

The Champenois often thwarted the opposing team's progress with pressing which caused a lot of Breton ball losses. The latter even got into difficulty almost alone on the first real enemy offensive.

Junya Ito, left without pressure along the right touchline, curled a fleeing cross that Marshall Munetsi came to cut off by throwing himself head first, deceiving Marco Bizot, slightly advanced (0-1, 25th). There were then a few minutes of hesitation where we felt the weight of the pressure and the stakes on the shoulders of the Finisterians, who sometimes let their frustration filter through. In the 37th minute, the other Japanese from Reims, Keito Nakamura almost doubled the lead, with a shot slightly deflected off target by a defender.

Where Eric Roy will mainly find fault in his team's performance, it will perhaps be the lack of realism, because Brest still created many more clear chances than its evening host. From the first minute, Mahdi Camara entered the area on the right side, but his low shot was well repelled by Yehvann Diouf. At the half-hour mark, it was a volley from Hugo Magnetti, following a back header from Steve Mounié, who had gone narrowly wide, while Martin Satriano had failed to get his goal on target. lead in the 42nd.

In the second half, Jérémy Le Douaron wasted two good shooting positions in quick succession (64th and 67th), before Mounié, at the penalty point, sent his recovery into the clouds on a back cross from Magnetti (77th) . But the nets still shook in favor of the locals: on a long cross from Kenny Lala, it was Lilian Brassier who emerged at the far post to smash the ball with a header into the small opposite net (1-1, 45th 2). A goal which could prove crucial in nine days, when Brest will have to make a final effort to secure its place in the continental elite next season.

Nice faithful to its image at the start of the season

At the same time, Friday evening, Nice qualified for a European Cup next season, securing a place in the top 6, thanks to its victory at the Allianz Riviera against Le Havre, which, in on the other hand, has not yet ensured its maintenance.

From now on, Italian coach Francesco Farioli and his team have two meetings, Wednesday against Paris Saint-Germain in a late match of the 32nd day and in Lille on May 19 at the end of the championship, to secure their 5th place and try to make better − fourth place allows you to qualify for the Champions League.

With 64% possession and four shots on target compared to zero for Le Havre, Nice made the start of the season version of Nice in the first half: solid defensively, aggressive on the ball carrier in the opposing camp, but limited in terms of efficiency offensive. Forgetting the eight goals scored in the last three matches, the desire was to lock access to Marcin Bulka's goal before anything else.

But well into the match, the Aiglons logically scored following a long throw from Antoine Mendy. No one in the Le Havre rearguard kept the danger away, and Jérémie Boga, with a half-volley cross, scored, in force, his fifth goal of the season (1-0, 12th).

From then on, Nice waited for its opponent, obliged to come back to score to try to outdistance Metz in the standings. On many occasions, Farioli's men could have doubled the lead, but failed to do so. At the end of the match, Nice was scared by the chance of Le Havre Steve Ngoura (90th 3) but did not give in. And an entire stadium exulted with happiness.

Le Havre, for its part, remains stuck in 15th place with 32 points. Luka Elsner's men will have to wait for the result from Metz, currently 16th and play-off, on Sunday in Strasbourg. And above all, on the 34th day, against Marseille, they will have to show a lot more to save their place in the elite.