FC Nantes commenced the new season with a woeful 0-0 draw away against 10-man Bordeaux last night.
Mehdi Zerkane was harshly sent off on his professional debut for the home club who had inexplicably installed their new manager only eleven days ago. Bordeaux hadn’t even been able to play under their new boss due to coronavirus and lack of recovery time, forcing the cancellation of two friendly matches. Still, in front of up to 5000 fans allowed inside the stadium, Les Canaris failed to exploit the home team’s lack of prep and a seventy minute man advantage. Whilst I understand the logic behind Zerkane’s dismissal, it highlighted a cynicism that every challenge must be sinister. Zerkane actually had the ball and if you lift your feet up to run then they must come down. Nicolas Pallois slid in and yes it could’ve been dangerous but it was accidental and unfortunate not intentionally dirty.
Nantes themselves had been struck by coronavirus and given that this match was brought forward due to the original curtain raiser been cancelled, it would be no surprise if Ligue 1 is severely disrupted or even temporarily halted.
Moses Simon was by far the brightest spark for Nantes but he can’t do it alone. As usual, you wonder where a serious volume of goals will come from. Quite honestly, a clean sheet and point away from home, even against 10 men, is a result Nantes should be grateful for. I’m really not sure what the ceiling limit is for Nantes this season. There are going to have to be some extremely poor sides in Ligue 1 otherwise the 2020-21 campaign could be fraught with danger.
This match, a derby encounter actually, was a horrible advert for an often maligned French top flight and an uninspiring way to kick off the campaign. In fact, from a TV viewing perspective, fake crowd noise would’ve been better than the sound of only 5000 spectators. Fingers crossed for better in the near future both for FC Nantes and French football in general.