Former New York City FC head coach Patrick Vieira dropped his first game in charge of OGC Nice in Ligue 1 Saturday night – a 1-0 home loss to newly promoted Stade de Reims.
Just two minutes into Vieira’s debut as a manager in the French top tier, Reims midfielder Moussa Doumbia struck a right-footed shot from outside the area for the game’s only tally.
Nice set up in Vieira’s favored 4-3-3 shape and controlled the match with the dominance he had demanded in his two-plus years in Major League Soccer. Nice owned 71 percent of the possession with 623 passes and an 89 percent completion rate. The team outshot its opponent 19-5. However, Nice managed just a single shot on target, and produced 10 corner kicks compared to just a pair for Reims, which spent the past two seasons in Ligue 2.
Mercurial striker Mario Balotelli was unavailable to Vieira following a two-match suspension for simulation in the final game of the 2017-18 season.
Vieira began his professional playing career in France with Cannes before signing with AC Milan and then Arsenal. Vieira retired in 2013 after winning an FA Cup title with Manchester City.
He served his initial stint as a first team manager in 2016, 2017 and 15 matches this season at New York City FC where he compiled an impressive 39-21-23 mark in the regular year.