Nice loses ground in French title race after draw against Nantes

Nice forward Mario Balotelli. (Claude Paris/AP)

PARIS — Nice lost more ground in the race for the French league title after being held to 1-1 at Nantes on Saturday.

Chasing a first league crown since 1959, the southern side dropped points for a second consecutive week after drawing against Caen.

Nice remains third in the standings, four points behind leader Monaco, which plays at Caen on Sunday. Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain has a one-point lead over Nice ahead of its home game against Lyon, also on Sunday.

Mario Balotelli, who has 10 league goals — all at home — was perfectly contained by the Nantes defence and was never a threat. He was replaced in the 83rd minute by Mickael Le Bihan.

After a lacklustre start with few chances, the hosts broke the deadlock when Emiliano Sala beat Yoan Cardinale to his left from Jules Iloki’s assist.

Nantes could not hold on to its lead for long. Midfielder Jean-Michel Seri found the net five minutes later with a fine strike from the edge of the area into the top right corner.

Nantes forward Prejuce Nakoulma was the most dangerous player after the interval and came close to putting his team back in front but his header hit Cardinale’s crossbar.

The powerfully built Nakoulma, who joined Nantes in February and scored a brace last weekend in a win at Montpellier, then fired a shot just inches wide. Nakoulma’s skills were on display again with 13 minutes left when he found Sala with a deep pass that his teammate could not convert.

With eight games left this season, Nantes is in 11th place, 30 points off the pace.


Three months after a humiliating 4-0 loss at the hands of Montpellier, Bordeaux thrashed its southern rival with an avalanche of goals.

Bordeaux led 3-0 after 32 minutes and posted its biggest win this season to move level on points with fifth-placed Marseille, 22 points behind Monaco.


Last-placed Lorient kept alive its hope of remaining in the topflight next season after coming back from two goals down to end a five-game losing run.

Benjamin Moukandjo pulled one back in the 66th minute and Wesley Lautoa headed home the equalizer with three minutes left after the referee deferred to goal-line technology.

Arnold Mvuemba scored the winner deep in added time.


Angers defeated Guingamp 3-0 in their mid-table clash while Toulouse and Rennes played out a goalless draw.

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