Nice goes second as Gouiri nets twice in win over Clermont

Nice's Amine Gouiri passes the ball during the Europa League Group C soccer match between Nice and Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

PARIS — Amine Gouiri scored twice on Sunday as Nice rallied past Clermont 2-1 to climb to second place in the French league, 11 points behind leader Paris Saint-Germain.

Gouiri equalized with a volley in the 77th minute. The Nice winger then raised his tally to eight league goals this season by controlling a corner in the 82nd before guiding the ball into the far corner.

Clermont had a fourth straight loss to fall into the relegation zone. The hosts had dominated the first half and took the lead in the 17th when Florent Ogier headed in a free kick from Jason Berthomier.

Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez limited the damage by saving efforts from Vital Nsimba in the fifth minute, Jim Allevinah in the seventh, Johan Gastien in the 12th and Salis Abdul Samed in the 40th.

Also Sunday, Brest earned a third straight win in the French league by stunning Lens 4-0 to move away from the relegation zone. Lens provisionally dropped to fourth place, two points behind Nice.

Benin striker Steve Mounie opened the scoring in the third minute by heading home a deflected cross from Jeremy Le Douaron.

Brest captain Brendan Chardonnet doubled the lead in the 13th by diverting in a corner with his back.

Romain Faivre notched his fifth goal this season with a curling shot from the edge of the box to make it 3-0 in the 33rd.

Le Douaron put the result beyond doubt in the 69th by holding off Kevin Danso to fire into the top corner.

Lens was down to 10 men in the 74th when substitute Arnaud Kalimuendo was sent off for a tackle from behind on Ronael Pierre-Gabriel.

Brest couldn’t win any of its first 11 games this season but recently turned a corner, defeating Monaco and Lorient.

“That victory against Monaco did a lot of good for us,” Faivre told Amazon Prime Video. “We feel the players are more confident. We play forward much more. We also have a defensive solidity, we are much more compact. There’s a better balance.”

Angers moved into sixth place by edging Lorient 1-0 with a penalty from Thomas Mangani in the 67th.

Strasbourg equalized with the last kick of the game in a 1-1 draw with Reims as substitute Jean-Ricner Bellegarde curled home a free kick in the seventh minute of stoppage time.

Saint-Etienne remained in the relegation zone despite beating Troyes 1-0 with a powerful long-range strike from Peru defender Miguel Trauco in the 61st.

Opa Nguette came off the bench and scored twice to help bottom side Metz rally from a 2-0 deficit and draw 3-3 with Bordeaux. Nguette capitalized on a corner to net from close range in the 52nd before scoring the equalizer with a looping header in the 71st. Metz midfielder Farid Boulaya was sent off in the 68th for a poor challenge on Yacine Adli.

The 14th round ends later Sunday with Lyon vs. Marseille.

On Saturday, Lionel Messi scored his first goal in the French league by leading PSG to a 3-1 win over Nantes. Rennes snatched third place by downing Montpellier 2-0.

On Friday, defending champion Lille drew 2-2 with Monaco to stay in the bottom half of the table.

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