Nice’s lead atop French league cut to one point after draw

Nice's goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale. (Lionel Cironneau/AP)

PARIS — Alassane Plea missed a golden chance with three minutes left as Nice saw its lead in the French league cut to one point after a 1-1 home draw against struggling Bastia on Sunday.

Playing without injured Mario Balotelli did not seem to be a problem for Nice, which dominated the first half and took control of the game after Plea scored his eighth goal in 14 league appearances.

On Nice’s second corner, Plea made no mistake from a precise cross from Jean-Michael Seri and outjumped defenders to head the ball home at the far post in the 11th minute.

Bastia struggled for possession and did not threaten until a flash of brilliance from Mehdi Mostefa at the hour-mark. The Algerian-French midfielder displayed great vision to put Yannick Cahuzac on goal with a through pass. Cahuzac’s shot was parried away by ‘keeper Yoan Cardinale, but Enzo Crivelli headed home the rebound.

Nice pushed hard during the last 30 minutes but was largely inefficient in front of goal as ‘keeper Jean-Louis Leca denied Valentin Eysseric and Younes Belhanda before Malang Sarr sent his header off the post.

With three minutes left to play, Plea then looked like he would snatch the win for Nice after he rounded Leca, but the winger smashed his powerful effort against the bar with the goal empty.

Nice narrowly leads second-placed Monaco, which thrashed Marseille 4-0 on Friday, while Bastia left the relegation zone on goal difference.



Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain secured a big win at Lyon with a brace from Edinson Cavani.

Cavani, the league’s top scorer with 13 goals in 12 matches, put PSG in front from the penalty spot after 30 minutes and slotted home the winner with nine minutes left.

Mathieu Valbuena had levelled for Lyon just after the interval.

After a stuttering start to the season under new coach Unai Emery, PSG seems to have found the winning combination. Third-placed PSG extended its unbeaten run to 11 matches in all competitions and moved within one point of Nice.

PSG largely dominated the first half, with Lyon players touching only one ball in the opposite box. Cavani wrongfooted goalkeeper Anthony Lopes to break the deadlock after Thiago Motta was fouled by Rafael.

The hosts levelled against the run of the play in the 48th when Rafael hit the post with a curled shot and Valbuena scored from the rebound.

In a change of momentum, Lyon created two more chances through Alexandre Lacazette but was punished on a counterattack led by Serge Aurier down the right flank. Thomas Meunier then cut a perfect cross for Cavani, who headed home at the far post.



Saint-Etienne put its offensive struggles aside to rally past Angers 2-1 after Oussama Tannane scored the winner, ending a four-match winless streak in the league.

Saint-Etienne, which has scored just 16 goals in 14 games this season, got off a bad start. But Angers missed the chance to take the lead in the 12th when Famara Diedhiou had his penalty saved by Stephane Ruffier, following a foul from Bryan Dabo.

Angers did not wait long to break the deadlock, though, as the in-form Nicolas Pepe scored his second goal in as many games in the 18th minute. The 21-year-old Ivory Coast player was set up by a through ball from Pierrick Capelle, ran faster than the Saint-Etienne defenders and dribbled past Ruffier before scoring in an empty net with an angled shot.

The visitors improved in the second half and equalized in the 59th when Florent Pogba surged at the far post, connected with a corner from Henri Saivet and sent his volley in for his first goal this season.

Saint-Etienne continued to push and earned the three points after Kevin Malcuit beat three players and passed the ball to Tannane, who used his burst of speed to make space and found the net with a low shot in the 78th.

Malcuit was sent off in added time for a dangerous tackle on Pablo Martinez.

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