Professionals | 08/09/2022

Opening game overshadowed by fan trouble

Draw in Nice

1. FC Köln and OGC Nice played out an entertaining 1:1 draw on Thursday night, starting off the club’s first UEFA Europa Conference League campaign. Andy Delort’s penalty cancelled out Steffen Tigges’ opener and his first FC goal. However, the events on the pitch were put on the backburner by events that took place before kick-off in the stands.

Events before kick-off

A day that began with so many fans enjoying the weather and the lovely city of Nice, which saw thousands of fans making their way through the streets. However, before the game, a handful of chaots in both fan groups came together which led to violent events between the two.

FC Managing Director, Christian Keller on the events that happened before kick-off: “I am speechless. I don’t know what the right words are. We wanted to celebrate a big, peaceful footballing fest. Everything was set up for that. We had 8,000 fans who came from Köln, with over more than 7,900 behaving brilliantly. From Nice, it is the same case and isn’t more than a few dozen complete chaots. That word doesn’t do it justice. The words that come to mind are words I can’t say. I don’t know what these people are doing here and what they want. It only leads to football, 1. FC Köln, OGC Nice and all the peaceful fans suffering.”

Team news

Lucien Favre made five changes to the team that started the 1:0 defeat to AS Monaco at the weekend. Kasper Schmeichel, Mattia Viti, Youcef Atal, Aaron Ramsey and Nicolas Pepe were replaced by Marcin Bulka, Jordan Lotomba, Joe Bryan, Alexis Beka Beka and Hichem Boudaoui.

Steffen Baumgart named an unchanged starting line-up to the side that began the game against VfL Wolfsburg.

Ahead at the break

When the football finally got started, with kick-off being delayed by around an hour, Nice were the better side. Like in Wolfsburg, FC started slowly but grew into the game as things went on. Jan Thielmann was lively from the start and got in behind in the 10th minute, only to skew his shot off target. Four minutes later, Thielmann zipped in behind again, but Bulka made himself big to stop the FC attacker while one-on-one.

Nice’s first moment of real danger came in the 17th minute as Marvin Schwäbe was called into action to palm away Gaëtan Laborde’s strong effort from 20 yards. Dejan Ljubicic then struck the post with a stinging effort from range. The next attack brought the opening goal. Jan Thielmann went through on the left-hand side and managed to slide across for Steffen Tigges to tap-in his first FC goal.

Later in the half, Thielmann’s flicked effort from a Kingsley Schindler cross edge narrowly wide of the back post. However, FC had to thank Marvin Schwäbe that the one-goal lead remained at the break. Laborde produced a superb pass for Andy Delort but Schwäbe managed to stick out a leg and keep out the former Wigan Athletic forward.

Delort levels from the spot

The second-half saw both sides come out of the dressing room unchanged but there was a role reversal on the pitch. Delort was dangerous from the restart again. He headed a cross into the ground and as the ball looked set to settle in the top corner, Schwäbe stuck out a paw to claw the effort away from goal.

The respite was only momentary, however. Timo Hübers was penalised for handball following a free-kick and Delort made no mistake from 12 yards, smashing the ball down the middle as Schwäbe dived to his right. Delort then found Laborde with a clever chipped pass, who saw his sweetly struck volley clip the top of the bar.

Linton Maina saw his low drive parried away by Bulka before another stunning stop from Schwäbe kept out the header from Laborde and ensured FC would leave Nice with a point. FC are next in action against 1. FC Union Berlin on Sunday afternoon at the RheinEnergieSTADION. Kick-off is at 15:30 CEST.

Line-ups

OGC Nice (4-3-3): Bulka – Lotomba, Todibo, Dante, Bryan (Bard 72’) – Boudaoui (Pepe 72‘), Thuram, Beka Beka – Laborde, Delort, Diop.

1. FC Köln (4-2-3-1): Schwäbe – Schindler, Kilian, Hübers, Hector – Ljubicic (Lemperle 85‘), Skhiri – Thielmann (Huseinbasic 72‘), Duda (Adamyan 56‘), Kainz (Maina 56‘) – Tigges (Dietz 56‘).

Goals: 0:1, Tigges 19’. 1:1, Delort (PEN) 61’.

Referee: Luis Godinho (POR).

Booked: Boudaoui (39’), Hector (59’), Hübers (61’), Kessler (68’).

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Total table
PL.TeamPt.
81. FSV Mainz 0511
91. FC Köln10
10SV Werder Bremen9
Total table
PL.TeamPt.
11. FC Köln4
2Partizan Belgrade2
3Nice2
4Slovácko1

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