Pressure increases on Rennes coach Stephan after Nice loss

PARIS — The pressure increased on Rennes coach Julien Stephan after losing at home to Nice 2-1 in the French league on Friday made it three straight defeats and four in the past six.

Rennes could have bounced up to fifth place with a win but is mired in eighth place after its eighth defeat. Having been among the frontrunners this season, it has not won since mid-January.

The strain is showing on Rennes, with technical director Florian Maurice shouting at the referee in the tunnel during the interval after his side was not awarded a penalty late in the first half.

After losing its past three games, Nice moved up to 12th place.

Forward Amine Gouiri put Nice ahead from the penalty spot in the 18th minute but winger Martin Terrier equalized late in the first half.

Gouri showed good skill to curl in a free kick from the right which Austrian defender Flavius Daniliuc met with a glancing header for 2-1 in the 57th.

Rennes midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud looked like equalizing late but his goal-bound shot hit the back of a teammate near the line.

On Saturday, defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, which is in third place, travels to face last-placed Dijon.

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