PostHeaderIcon Ligue 1: 3ème journée

Stade François Coty, Ajaccio.
25 August 2013.

The team went to the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte knowing that they had to up their game after the terrible midweek defeat to Apollon Limassol in the Europa League play-off in Cyprus. The opponents AC Ajaccio had been outstanding the previous week, holding defending champions PSG to a 1-1 draw largely thanks to the heroics of their goalkeeper Ochoa. With Nice supporters barred from attending the match due to “safety reasons”, les Aiglons were left to fight on their own for the three precious points.

Six minutes into the game, new signing Christian Brüls headed the ball into the back of the net but the goal was swiftly cancelled as the linesman flagged for an offside offence apparently by striker Cvitanich. Debatable, perhaps. The offside rule has always been annoyingly complicated. Overall, Nice dominated the game yet they were unable find the elusive winning goal. The match thus ended goalless. Decent performance, could have been better, but an invaluable point won nonetheless. What’s important now is to overturn the deficit in the return leg against Limassol at Stade du Ray.

Matchday 3: AC Ajaccio 0-0 OGC Nice, 11th.

PostHeaderIcon Pic: Entrevaux

View from the citadel in Entrevaux, France.
24 August 2013.

Beautiful sight.

PostHeaderIcon Pic: Paris #0

Gare de Lyon, Paris.
8 August 2013.

I’m finally here.

PostHeaderIcon Ligue 1: 2ème journée

Stade du Ray, Nice.
17 August 2013.

Following some unpleasant incidents during last season’s closing home fixture against Lyon, OGC Nice had been ordered to play their first home game of the new season against Stade Rennais behind closed doors. Reeling from the disastrous visit to Lyon, les Aiglons had to make do and bounce back from last week’s defeat, regardless of the absence of the supporters.

The atmosphere was expectedly lifeless in the stadium. It was even below par with that of a friendly match, yet the players did brilliantly and secured a 2-1 victory with fans’ favourite Dario Cvitanich finding the net on his return from suspension. Although the winning goal, scored by Jérémy Pied, was the result of a costly defensive error from Rennes, the team’s performance in itself is worthy enough of maximum points that day. Convincing and commanding, there was no better way to prepare for the UEFA Europa League play-off against Apollon Limassol in Cyprus this coming Thursday.

A solid win, and three points in the bag.

Matchday 2: OGC Nice 2-1 Stade Rennais, 12th.

PostHeaderIcon Ligue 1: 1ère journée

Stade de Gerland, Lyon.
10 August 2013.

After a surprisingly unimpressive pre-season performance with a draw and four losses (scoring a goal and conceding ten) recorded, there were doubts of OGC Nice‘s success in the new season, whether they would be good enough to emulate last season’s achievement or to even surpass it. Being faithful supporters of the club ( 😆 ), we were adamant not to let ourselves get carried away by such useless negative thoughts. We kept repeating the old mantra “it’s just a friendly” after each loss, hoping that the poor form would not continue into the season.

Les Aiglons travelled to Stade de Gerland for the opening game of the new footballing year to face last season’s second runners-up Olympique Lyonnais who finished three points above them.

The result? A trashing 4-0 defeat. The first half however wasn’t that bad – after Lyon’s Lacazette opened the score Nice seemed to have woken up and began to play decent football, creating chances and pushing Lyon’s defence deeper and deeper. But then came the half-time whistle, and after the restart everything went wrong. “After half-time we had been inexistant,” admitted team captain Didier Digard.

So that’s it. At rock bottom. Not the best start to the season.

Matchday 1: Olympique Lyonnais 4-0 OGC Nice, 20th.

Ligue 1 – Résumé de la 1ère journée – 2013/2014 by Ligue1-Officiel

PostHeaderIcon Nissa la Bella

Nice, France.
3 August 2013.

The morning I decided to make a very simple guitar arrangement for the unofficial anthem of the city of Nice.

QUICK EDIT: The video.

PostHeaderIcon Friendly in Monaco

Stade Louis II, Monaco.
18h30, 3 August 2013.

A typical weekend started as usual: I slept very late the night before and only woke up just after noon on Saturday when the summer heat was too much for my comfort.

I was playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on my 3DS when I remembered that the football team Tottenham Hotspur had earlier arrived in Monaco and they were going to face AS Monaco later that evening in a friendly match at Stade Louis II. Considering the fact that Monaco is merely 20km away from Nice, I decided to get up and get ready for a short trip to the small principality, but not before convincing a friend to tag along. Everything was impromptu.

We bought the away tickets at the stadium which put us together with the few Britons present that day.

We were however twenty minutes late, and by the time we reached the stadium it was already 1-0 to Monaco.

The majority of the big names were on the field: Lloris, Parker, Lennon, Dembele, Sigurdsson and Walker for Spurs; Carvalho, Abidal, Toulalan, Moutinho, Rodriguez, and the  €60 million marquee signing Falcao for Les rouges et blancs.

There were no more goals until two minutes into the second half when a glancing header from Ocampos made it into the back of the net, leaving Spurs’ Niçois goalkeeper Hugo Lloris helpless. Little did he know he was eventually going to have a bad time in the goal. A couple of minutes later, Falcao scored.

Spurs were in disarray, but despite that they did manage to pull one back through Harry Kane to make it 3-1. Their inferiority in the game nevertheless proved to be significant enough as AS Monaco went on to win 5-2.

While the new rich kids demonstrated to the world what they are capable of doing, Spurs were visibly in shambles, especially their fragile defence.

So… that’s it. Ain’t football fun?

Kona jangan jeles!

PostHeaderIcon La vie en France: July 2013

The system has been thoroughly broken: no more guarantee of regular (weekly or biweekly) updates. Laziness and idleness is getting the better of me.

Moved out of the family foster on the first of July, now staying at a private student residence to the west of the city centre. Still having “intensive” French classes and currently undergoing preparation for TCF later this month.

Not much to say.

Indulged myself in the story of Vincent van Gogh, a post-Impressionist painter I first heard of years ago thanks to Don McLean’s Vincent. Besides that, I bought and watched five french DVD’s in an effort to improve my French, but I doubt it’s effectiveness. While we’re at it, give Quand je serai petit and Et maintenant on va ou? a peek.

Tried to get back into reading. I started Voltaire‘s Traité sur la tolérance some time ago, however so far progress has been frustratingly minute.

Had a petite soirée with les Aixois and les Toulousains at the beach for breaking fast.

And… A friendly match between OGC Nice and SS Lazio was going to take place at Stade du Ray on the last day of the month. I bought a ticket for myself and wanted to ask a few friends to come along, but I soon found out that my fellow Malaysians had no enthusiasm whatsoever for the local football team. Unless if it were against PSG, or Real Madrid, or Barcelona, or any other top European team, I’d say that pigs would have to fly first before they would be even remotely interested in this small, obscure French club.

So I went alone. Technically speaking though I was with 5076 other spectators. The atmosphere was not bad, considering that it was after all a friendly match. Despite that, a (minor) scuffle broke out in the first half. The game ended 1-0 to the Italians, and guess who netted the only goal of the evening? The guy that I remember most for the hattrick he scored for Germany against Saudi Arabia in the 2002 FIFA World Cup: Miroslav Klose. At 35 years of age, he was still quick and sharp. “Il a toujours des bonnes jambes“, someone remarked.

This potato photo shows the supporters group Populaire Sud (the ultras) in the Populaire Sud Stand.

It’s August already. Time really flies.

PostHeaderIcon La vie en France: Week 9

Marineland, Antibes.
Monday, 17 June 2013.

Organised by Campus France and accompanied by six lecturers from IUT Nice and IUT Sophia, this excursion is part of the monthlong Immersion Malaisienne Programme which aims to facilitate our integration here in France and at our IUT’s.

Though it has nothing to do with engineering studies, it is after all le must de la Côte d’Azur. So it’s okay. No problems, no complaints.
I mean, just look how excited these guys are.

Here, have some relevant photos. I have no idea what to say, therefore I hope short captions would do.

First show of the day: Seals and sealions.

A couple of impressive sea lions.

Waiting for the orcas…

And three come out, these swaggering creatures.

One of the trainers warn the people in the lower rows, especially those with cameras (and generally other electronic devices), to move up or risk of being splashed by the orcas. He then invites les plus courageux (the most courageous) to take the risk.

Upon closer inspection, I then realise that one of “the most courageous” is one of us, holding a water-proof GoPro.

Smart dolphins and their trainers doing quite a few tricks.

On Wednesday, we had a small get-together for the Malaysians in Nice and the professors of both of the said IUT at Carras Beach near the airport. The petite soirée started at seven in the evening and lasted for a couple of hours.

And two days later it was la Fête de la Musique, the day when people enjoy live music performed by amateurs and professionals alike in the streets and public spaces. I initially thought that the event would start early in the morning and last all day long, so I was rather disappointed to find out that there was practically no live music at all until late in the evening. Despite that, I took a walk around Vieux Nice and Place Masséna just after sunset to savour the joy of music, met up with a few friends, strolled along the beach on the Promenade des Anglais, bumped into an ex-housemate, and only returned home after midnight.

Besides that, I can’t remember anything else.

PostHeaderIcon La vie en France: Week 8

Not much to talk about for this week. French lessons, as usual, started at 0900 everyday, and after lunch we had to take Bus 230 to Sophia Antipolis for some classes specially tailored for us les Malaisiens at the IUT.

On Tuesday, I went to the Official OGC Nice Store to do a friend a favor and buy her something she had asked for. An elderly man there decided to start a conversation with me, and I eventually asked him for how long he had been a supporter of OGC Nice. He said ça fait longtemps – it has been a long time – and then proceeded to show me some of the black and white photos of the glorious team that had won four Ligue 1 titles in the 50’s. “I was there”, he claimed while pointing at one of those photos, “and it was our second league title in as many years.”. The date on it marked 1952 – over sixty years ago. Until now the team had never been able to reach the heights they did during that golden decade. But this old man kept on supporting them, and that spoke volumes about passion and loyalty. Cette année on a fait une belle saison, he later remarked, given that the 2012/2013 season concluded with Nice finishing fourth in the league – their greatest finish in 37 years.

When I told him I was a foreigner and that I did not speak French really well, he gave me an absolutely fantastic advice: Pour bien apprendre le français, il faut d’abord trouver une copine niçoise! 😆

Anyway, my pre-ordered Animal Crossing: New Leaf game arrived on Thursday (a day earlier than the official release date) and I spent virtually the whole weekend playing it! The game is very nostalgic and calming, it’s become rather addicting.

Today this note was posted on the notice board in the in-game town:

Maybe you dare not usually say “I love you” to your father, but at least make an effort today! He deserves it!” – literal translation, yeah.

Well, Happy Father’s Day then!

Limesong of the Day: Cat StevensFather and Son, one of my all-time favourites!