PARIS — Nice’s campaign for the French league title is back on track after a goal from Wylan Cyprien secured a 1-0 victory over Saint-Etienne on Wednesday.
Nice, which lost the Riviera derby 3-0 to league leader Monaco last weekend, moved level on points with second-place Paris Saint-Germain and kept the title race wide open.
Monaco has a three-point lead at the top of the table following a win at Montpellier on Tuesday.
Nice played high up the pitch from the start, pressing Saint-Etienne’s centre-backs, and was quickly rewarded for its dominance.
Following a good combination of passes in front of the area, Cyprien took his chance from the edge of the box and sent a precise shot past keeper Jessy Moulin and into the top corner after seven minutes.
Nice had all the possession and came close of doubling its lead five minutes later but, Moulin denied Alassane Plea’s attempt from close range.
Saint-Etienne’s first scoring chance came on the break after 20 minutes, when captain Romain Hamouma sped down the right flank, only to send his shot wide. The visitors had two good chances after the interval but keeper Yoan Cardinale made excellent saves to secure three crucial points.
LYON 4, NANCY 0
After a bitter loss at archrival Saint-Etienne over the weekend, Lyon vented its frustration on struggling Caen with a convincing win.
The result ended a three-game losing run in all competitions for the seven-time champions and lifted them four points clear of fifth-place Saint-Etienne with one match in hand.
Lyon supporters unfurled banners criticizing the lack of ambition from players and officials before kick-off.
Bruno Genesio’s players got the message although they missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock after Mathieu Valbuena set up Maxwell Cornet in the area with an inspired pass in the 17th minute. Cornet got past a defender but completely missed his left-foot shot.
Striker Alexandre Lacazette was more accurate near the half-hour mark when he connected with a cut-back from Nabil Fekir, only to see his shot in front an open goal cleared by a Nancy player.
Just as he was about to be replaced by Memphis Depay because of an apparent leg injury, Valbuena made the most of his last moments on the pitch. Having collected the ball on the left side of the box, the France midfielder curled a beautiful shot into the opposite corner, giving keeper Sergey Chernik no chance.
Fekir then made it 2-0 with a fine chip over Chernik after playing a one-two with Lacazette. Lyon put the game away in the 54th minute after being awarded what looked like a soft penalty for a challenge on Depay in the box. Lacazette converted the spot-kick with a shot to the right of Chernik and Depay completed the rout with his first goal since joining from Manchester United.
MARSEILLE 2, GUINGAMP 0
Dimitri Payet scored his first goal for Marseille since returning from West Ham during the winter transfer window, helping the southern club to victory over Guingamp.
It was also Payet’s first start since his move away from the Premier League and the France international celebrated it by scoring with a 25-meter free kick that took a deflection and flew over the Guingamp keeper in the 76th minute.
Bafetimbi Gomis had put the hosts in front with a diving header in the first half.
Marseille remained sixth in the standings, 19 points behind the leaders.
Metz moved three points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over Dijon, last-place Lorient was held to a 1-1 draw by Toulouse while Angers and Rennes played to a goalless stalemate.