Goal Analysis: Naim Sliti – Dijon FCO 3-1 RC Lens 2/6/2019

Goal Analysis: Naim Sliti – Dijon FCO 3-1 RC Lens 2/6/2019

Two awful mistakes by Jeremy Vachoux ensured Dijon FCO would remain in Ligue 1 for another season, however Lens didn’t cover themselves in glory for the opening goal either.

The move starts with Mounir Chouiar passing to Jean-Ricner Bellegarde. The ball bounces though and Bellegarde is unable to control it, taking a very heavy touch off his ankle. The loose ball falls to a Dijon defender and is squeezed through to Wesley Lautoa in midfield.

Dijon goal
Chouiar passes to Bellegarde
Dijon goal
Bellegarde’s touch is very heavy
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Dijon recover the ball
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The ball is played forward to Lautoa in midfield

Having taken five Lens players out of the game with the pass into midfield, Lautoa, flanked by Florent Balmont and Romain Amalfitano on either side, has space to run into as Lens keep a fairly deep defensive line.

The only player in the area, Cheick Doucoure, positions himself excellently: with Balmont making a run to Lautoa’s right, the Malian takes a few steps to his left to put himself in a position to cut out any pass into the space ahead of Balmont, while maintaining a position to tackle Lautoa if he continues to push forward. The pass to Balmont is still open, however as the pass into the space ahead of him is cut out, Lautoa would only be able to play it into Balmont’s feet, which would at least slow him down rather than having him run onto a ball and getting straight at the defence at speed – Bellegarde is also getting back fairly quickly to defend.

Dijon goal
Doucoure positions himself to discourage a pass to Balmont while keeping in place to stop Lautoa

Although Doucoure’s positioning was excellent, the same can’t be said for Guillaume Gillet. The Belgian is off to the right covering Jean-Kevin Duverne’s position while the right-back attacks, however when Lens lose the ball he decides to come back into the centre. It’s understandable why he chooses to do this – Doucoure has been left three against one in the middle so Gillet presumably wants to support his teammate – but as Duverne has made little effort to track back, Gillet moving inside leaves Naim Sliti completely open down the left.

Dijon goal
Gillet moves inside to provide support for Doucoure, but as Duverne hasn’t tracked back this leaves Sliti free on the left

Lautoa slides a pass forward for Sliti to run onto and the Tunisian has plenty of time to control the ball and cut inside into the penalty area. Mehdi Tahrat holds his position well in the centre, only leaving a narrow gap protected by Vachoux at the near post, but right as Sliti cuts inside Tahrat moves, opening up space for Sliti inside. It’s difficult to tell why he decides to move after keeping his position well until then, but the most likely explanation is he misreads Sliti cutting inside as him going to shoot and he goes to block it.

Dijon goal
The ball is played for Sliti to run onto
Dijon goal
Tahrat’s positioning only offers Sliti a narrow view of the goal which Vachoux protects
Dijon goal
Tahrat moves just as Sliti cuts inside, opening up space to shoot towards the opposite corner. Gillet can’t get there in time to block and Vachoux can’t reach the shot.

With Tahrat’s handful of steps, enough space is opened up for Sliti to finish in the opposite corner. Gillet dives in but can’t get there in time, while Vachoux can’t reach it (he arguably should have taken a step to his left when Sliti cuts in but his view is likely blocked by Tahrat so he at least can’t really be blamed for this goal).

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