French too good for Steelmen
French outfit Nancy progress to the group stages of the Uefa Cup after outclassing Motherwell at Fir Park.
By Carla Hilton
Last Updated: 02/10/08 9:57pm
French outfit Nancy progress to the group stages of the Uefa Cup after outclassing Motherwell at Fir Park to go through 3-0 on aggregate.
Nancy continued their good record in the Uefa cup with an impressive performance against the Steelmen who struggled to deal with their opponents pace and conceded a 2-0 defeat on home soil.
Motherwell appeared to start well and had a decent chance of taking the lead through defender Steven Hammell. After an initial scramble in the area Hammell picked up on a lose ball with a header on target which was eventually cleared from the line. Joel Sami appeared to pick up a knock in the scramble and was stretchered off leaving Nancy temporarily with ten men.
Marc-Antoine Fortune was a constant threat for the Motherwell defence and it took just minutes for him to break the deadlock in Scotland even despite Nancy being a man down. Paul Quinn stupidly barging into Monsef Zerka right in front of the referee conceded a pointless free kick 20 yards out early in the game. Fortune was left in acres of space and followed up from an initial attempt with a rocket shot to score his first goal of the season.
Nancy got there second goal just a few minutes later in front of a handful of French supporters through another free kick, again awarded for a sloppy challenge. Benjamin Gavanon with a long range effort on the left crossed a pacey ball in completely baffling the Motherwell defence. Nothing keeper Graeme Smith could do about it from an awkward angle as Nancy stretched their lead to three goals on aggregate.
The visitors bizarrely played for almost ten minutes before eventually making a substitution from the early incident involving Sami. Increasing their presence back to a full 11, Abdeslam Ouaddou eventually came on for the injured Sami who appeared in some distress as he was stretchered off the pitch.
Nothing Motherwell could do but press forward with three goals to peg back to at least take the game to extra time. After making an early tactical substitution bringing Jamie Murphy on for Robert Malcolm, Motherwell had a couple of mediocre chances before half-time but nothing that really threatened the French back-four.
Mark McGhee's side needed to really apply the pressure to try and get something out of the game, and they did early in the second half through midfielder Stephen Hughes. The 25-year-old hit an absolute screamer flying just over the bar from the left of goal - Gennaro Bracigliano was well beaten
Jamie Murphy had another good chance of bringing Motherwell back in the game with a free kick 25 yards out just before the hour mark. His shot went straight through the wall and took a deflection but the French keeper went the right way and cleared the ball well.
Motherwell were lucky not to fall further behind after Landry N'Guemo, only just on the pitch after replacing goal-scorer Gavanon, made a great run down the centre of the pitch before releasing a shot with just the keeper to beat. He pulled the shot just wide of the right post but it could quite easily have been 3-0 to the French side.
There were little to no real efforts from the Steelmen in the final few minutes of the match. Despite holding possession for 57 percent of the second half they seemed a tired and spent force and eventually exited the competition after a 2-0 defeat at Fir Park.