Former Bristol City winger Niclas Eliasson scored twice on Saturday Afternoon as his relegation facing Nîmes Olympique traveled to their local rivals, Olympique De Marseille. Both sides have had difficult starts to the 2020/21 Season, with Marseille out of the European places and their opponents starting the day bottom of the table.
Marseille lost to Paris Saint-Germain in the Supercup last time out, so were looking to bounce back to form in the League. André Villas-Boas’ side has won once since the New Year, whilst Jérôme Arpinon’s team had not won in eight games, with seven of them being losses.
L’OM started the best of the two sides, with Aston Villa target Morgan Sanson forcing Baptiste Reynet into a low save with his feet to the right of his goal, after 15 minutes. That continued into the latter stages of the First Half, as Nîmes were struggling to cope with a Boubacar Kamara less Marseille. The young defender was forced off with an injury midway through the first period.
Dominance was rewarded after 32 Minutes, as OM were awarded a penalty for a Sofiane Alakouch handball that was off of a wayward Darío Benedetto touch. French International Florian Thauvin stepped up to the plate, even though he’s missed a fair few penalties already this season. That streak continued as he shanked a curling shot wide right of Reynet’s net.
A couple of minutes later, Marseille came close again, this time through Benedetto. A terrific low piledriver across goal from Dimitri Payet fell to feet of the Argentine who surely couldn’t miss from two yards out. His attempt hit Reynet’s left boot however and was dealt with by the Nîmes defenders.
Just before the half, Nîmes started to open the game up by taking the ball into Marseille’s area. Les Crocodiles went close through a Moussa Koné header just before the whistle blew. The classy Algerian midfielder Zinedine Ferhat cut onto his right foot and floated in a beautiful ball onto the striker’s head. Sadly for Nîmes, Koné’s effort was palmed onto the post by Marseille keeper, Yohann Pelé
Momentum carried with Nîmes to begin the second half as they enjoyed the majority of the ball. That lead to the league’s basement boys taking the lead within ten minutes of the second half commencing. It once again came through Ferhat who seems to be their main creative outlet. His low swerving cross hit the leg of Duje Ćaleta-Car, falling into the path of Alakouch who’s quick one-two with Lamine Fomba created space for Niclas Eliasson to slot home at the near post. A bit of luck for Nîmes Olympique.
The away side doubled their lead within two minutes, as an excellently executed counter-attack proved dividend. An inch-perfect sliding tackle from Koné deep in Nîmes’ own half created a beautiful goal. The striker drove with the ball until he was way past the halfway line, where he offloaded to a sprinting Ferhat. He spotted the spirited run from Alakouch who’s scintillating dinked ball across the Marseille goalline met Niclas Eliasson at the far post for his second of the game.
This affair seemed to fizzle out for around half an hour as Nîmes dictated the tempo, shutting out a desperate OM. That didn’t last for the whole game though, as they were caught napping on 85 minutes. Benedetto latched onto an Andrés Cubas misplaced backpass and guided his shot into the far right of Reynet’s goal.
It wasn’t enough to spearhead a comeback, as Nîmes left the Vélodrome with all three points. Marseille fall to ten points behind the league leaders, Paris Saint Germain, whilst Nîmes Olympique moves up to 18th.
Who is Niclas Eliasson?
The former Sweden Under-21 international arrived at Bristol City from IFK Norrkoping in August 2017, and didn’t feature much during his first campaign. However, he played a key part in the success of Lee Johnson’s side between 2018 and 19. That wonder of a left foot has had people amazed for a while, but Niclas Eliasson wasn’t very useful when regrouping and trying to win back the ball.
Nîmes have started to use him in a more advanced role, which differs from the Niclas Eliasson we saw at Bristol City. He was a classic touchline hogging winger, that delivered a beautiful whipped ball across goal, which often connected with Famara Diedhou’s head.
The Swede joined Nîmes back in October 2020 and has played 13 times, scoring twice. For more like this, visit our dedicated football page here. Meanwhile, follow us on Facebook for more opinions and analysis right to your timeline.