French Europa League tops/flops: It happens to everyone, but in pain.
A qualifying that should not be too difficult for Monaco, but more challenging for Nice, Nantes, and Rennes… Find out which French clubs are the best and which are the worst in the Europa League and the Conference.
4/4 for French clubs
Even though the performances were not necessarily outstanding, the fact that all of the French teams qualified for the subsequent stages of their competition is the most significant development. Two victories apiece for Monaco and Nantes got the evening started on the right foot (4-1 for ASM against Red Star Belgrade and 0-2 for Nantes against Olympiakos). The results of the games at Rennes and Nice, which both finished in a tie (1-1 for the Bretons against Larnaca and 2-2 for the Aiglons against Cologne), were good enough to allow the European journey to continue.
Kevin Volland for the hat-trick
It was decided that the German striker would provide better support for Wissam Ben Yedder on the attacking front than Breel Embolo would. The Monaco coach, Philippe Clement, made what appears to be a sound decision, as it is quite evident that this was the case. Kevin Volland completed his hat trick by scoring a goal with his head, one with his right foot, and the final one with his left foot. Full, spotless, and working perfectly.
Schmeichel, the guardian angel
Wow, Kasper Schmeichel turned in a great effort tonight. If Nice was able to qualify, it was primarily due to the efforts of its goalkeeper. Even if the Eagles let in two goals, including one in the 48th minute when the Danish goalie had some responsibility for the goal (1-2), we are unable to condemn him because he was such a valuable asset. The former goalie for Leicester has made several saves, including three that were essential (7th, 27th, and 48th respectively) to keep his club in the game.
Low a quality match for Nantes
Consequently, the (historical) qualifying of Nantes is still without a doubt the single most crucial element of this evening. However, when we take everything into account, the performance is virtually on par with a feat. The Nantes goal was not besieged by Olympiakos, but the Canaries had a difficult time getting out of their half of the field, both in the first and the second session. Regardless of how strong their defensive play was, Alban Lafont’s teammates were very effective in the match’s latter minutes. Ludovic Blas provides a nice service, and Mostafa Mohamed scores with a strong header in the 79th minute to put the score at 1-0. Mostafa Mohamed then repays Blas with an excellent backheel (90th, 0-2).
The second periods of Nice and Rennes
What a difficult task it was. Although Rennes were not in imminent danger, there was a discernible improvement in their play after the opening half an hour. It is hardly surprising that Larnaca was able to pull off an equalization (76th, 1-1). On the other hand, because of this disheartening result and Fenerbahce’s achievement, Rennes will have to compete in the playoffs against a champion team that was demoted from the Champions League.
However, let’s talk about the second quarter in Nice. The first act was intensely disputed and very evenly matched, but Favre’s team never emerged from the locker room. The score advantage of 0-2 at the half may have caused the Aiglons to slack down, which might have been extremely detrimental to their chances of winning. Denis Husseinbasic scored for Germany in the 48th minute to make the score 1-2, then Ondrej Duda added another goal for Germany a few minutes later (60th, 2-2). Cologne thoroughly stifled Nice’s offensive opportunities in the second half. Nice had very few chances. Because Schmeichel and Slovacko played in a tie against Partizan Belgrade, the Gym was able to finish in first place in their group.