© www.lpwp.fr 16 Apr Good deal for Nice By: Tim Hartog National Leagues, France Pro A league For the second consecutive time, a round of the French Pro A League was spread over several days (from 10 to 15 April). However this allowed to play all the matches that were postponed earlier, and to finally have a clear classification, since now all teams have played the same number of matches. Nice is the winner of this (long) 15th round since, thanks to two victories against Strasbourg and Montpellier, the team of the French Riviera has now taken second place of the reigning champion. After Aix-en-Provence last week, Nice met two other opponents of the "top 5", and, both against Strasbourg (11-8) as against Montpellier (12-7) the players of Samuel Nardon have been pretty invincible, which bodes well ahead of the semifinals in which the three teams will participate (with Marseille). Both matches were held almost the same way: Nice opponent opened the scoring (0-1) then, after a quick equaliser, Nice took the lead in the score, never to be regained. Yet Strasbourg in great shape now had come to win in Nice last season (10-14) and dreamed to renew this feat. But Montpellier had recovered Mathieu Peisson (end of suspension). Nothing helped. Nice wanted to win, Nice would win. Montpellier was probably not efficient enough in man up, certainly and could rightly complain about several game inversions by the referees, but essential is not there : there weas clearly in the pool a team in better shape et more determined than the other. 3-1, 5-3, 9-5, 12-7 (final score): Nice put a point of honor not to lose any period. Nevertheless the respective rankings of the two teams will not change the semi-final to come, which must oppose the two teams. Therefore, would Montpellier have hidden his game, consciously or not? Nothing is less certain! Against Strasbourg Nice, which is nevertheless the most penalised team in Pro A, only committed three exclusion fouls, a record in Pro A! Suffice to say that the task of Alsatians became almost impossible, despite the usual efficiency of Nikola Sutic (4 goals). Even if the difference is less than against Montpellier, the victory of Nice (11-8) suffers no contestation. On an individual point of view, David Babic took benefit of the two victories of his club to reach the third place in the top scorers’ ranking. A few days earlier, Strasbourg had definitively and mathematically secured its berth in the semis, literally crushing Saint-Jean d'Angely (20-7) in a one-sided match of very small sporting interest. If necessary, the 7-0 in the last period demonstrates the dazzling superiority of the Alsatians. In its pool Noisy proved intractable hosting a team of Lille, apparently not very "concerned" by this match like its striker Robin Lindhout (only 1 goal). Led by Igor Szabo (5 goals) the Parisians took the lead from beginning and were never caught back, increasing the gap period after period. The final victory (12-8) is perfectly logical, and, above all, allows Noisy to leave the last place in the ranking to Saint-Jean d'Angely. For its part Aix-en-Provence, with Oscar Carrillo in smaller shape (3 goals) and without really putting the manner, has gained the essential, namely the victory (12-11) against Douai, a possible competitor for the 5th place. Finally Marseille, who presented a team with many young players, had no difficulty to beat a demobilised team of Sète,third in 2014, who doesn’t have any target left and seems to long for the end of the season. French Pro A League Results: Nice – Montpellier 12 – 7 (3-1, 2-2, 4-2, 3-2) Nice – Strasbourg 11 – 8 (3-3, 3-2, 4-3, 1-0) Aix-en-Provence – Douai 12 – 11 (2-3, 3-2, 4-3, 3-3) Strasbourg – Saint-Jean d’Angély 20 – 7 (5-1, 3-3, 5-3, 7-0) Sète – Marseille 9 – 15 (2-3, 2-5, 1-3, 4-4) Noisy – Lille 12 – 8 (3-2, 3-2, 3-3, 3-1) Standings after 15 matches : 1- Marseille – 41 pts (+ 119) 2- Nice – 37 pts (+ 75) 3- Montpellier – 36 pts (+ 71) 4- Strasbourg – 29 pts (+ 29) 5- Aix-en-Provence – 19 pts (- 23) 6- Sète – 14 pt (- 35) 7 - Lille – 13 pts (- 36) 8- Douai – 13 pt (- 44) 9- Noisy – 9 pts (- 76) 10- Saint-Jean d’Angély – 7 pts (- 80) Top scorers: 1 – Oscar Carrillo (Aix-en-Provence) 58 goals 2 – Robin Lindhout (Lille) 52 goals 3 – David Babic (Nice) 47 goals Next round (18th april). Douai – Noisy Marseille – Nice Strasbourg – Sète Montpellier – Aix-en-Provence Lille – Saint-Jean d’Angély Thanks to Eric Dupont.