Arsenal loanee Nicolas Pepe returned to action for OGC Nice in their Europa Conference League clash against Sheriff Tiraspol tonight.
The 27-year-old replaced Gaetan Laborde in the 67th minute. The Ivory Coast international tried to make things happen, but his rustiness showed.
Pepe’s loan to the Ligue 1 club has been reasonably successful, with the right-winger scoring six goals and creating two big chances in 16 league appearances.
He has also scored two goals while carving three opportunities in the Conference League.
Pepe helped his side to a win over the Moldovan side. Laborde opened the scoring in the first half with a composed finish.
Big-money January window signing Terem Moffi scored a fantastic volley to extend the lead. He showed impressive link-up play to bring his teammates into play before the goal.
They were cruising to a comfortable victory before Abdoul Tapsoba pegged them back. The goal came from a poor heading clearance by Jean-Clair Todibo.
Moffi was also involved in Nice’s third goal. The Nigerian striker smacked a shot off the post before the rebound fell perfectly for Billal Brahimi to ensure the win.
OGC Nice won the tie 4-1 on aggregate to advance to the quarter-finals of the competition.
There was a strange situation surrounding interim coach Digard before the game. He could not officially manage the team due to an obscure UEFA rule. Julien Sable stepped in.
Digard could not carry out the usual pre-match press duties because he had not obtained his coaching licence.
As in the case of Stade de Reims’ sensational manager Will Still, who also does not possess the required licence to manage, Nice pay a €25,000 fine each time they play in Ligue 1.
Nice promoted Digard, a former Paris Saint-Germain player, to coach the first team from Lucien Favre’s backroom staff when they sacked the Swiss manager in January.
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