Saint-Etienne beats Monaco; Nice snaps skid in Ligue 1

PARIS — Monaco was losing 1-0 at Saint-Etienne in the French league with about 20 minutes remaining on Sunday when video review made a significant impact.

Referee Jerome Brisard showed Saint-Etienne defender Wesley Fofana a red card for apparently impeding Jean-Kevin Augustin near the edge of the penalty area as the Monaco striker broke through on goal.

The linesman on the right side of the field had not raised his flag despite having a clear view of the action. But VAR determined that Augustin was narrowly offside when receiving the ball, and therefore Fofana’s red card was overturned and Saint-Etienne got a free kick.

In the closing moments, Monaco’s players converged around Brisard again when he showed defender Ruben Aguilar a red card for barging over Denis Bouanga as he made an inspired run from behind the halfway line up to the penalty area.

Although Monaco’s players were angry, it appeared a clear decision since Aguilar was the last defender and clearly stepped across to block Bouanga.

Monaco was much the better side in the first half but spurned chances, and Bouanga made the breakthrough in the 59th minute when he side-footed in Romain Hamouma’s left-wing cross from close range.

The win moved former Leicester coach Claude Puel’s side up to eighth place, while Monaco is languishing in 15th spot.

NICE RELIEVED

The pressure was growing on Nice coach Patrick Vieira after six matches without a win, so a 2-0 home victory against Reims was timely.

It was a first win since Sept. 21, when the south-coast team had climbed into third place. Nice’s form then spiraled with four league defeats and a draw, followed by elimination from the League Cup midweek against second-tier Le Mans.

Nice was helped when visiting midfielder Moussa Doumbia was sent off in the 26th. Vieira’s side quickly took advantage with midfielder Wylan Cyprien netting in the 32nd and defender Christophe Herelle getting the second shortly before the break.

"This win will do us a lot of good and give us some confidence," said Vieira, who was disappointed to hear home fans whistling his team at the end. "We’re in a complicated period, the three points are more important than the manner in which we play."

Nice climbed into 13th place.

NANTES FALTERS

Nantes missed the chance to close the gap on leader Paris Saint-Germain to five points after losing 2-0 at Bordeaux.

The loss dropped Nantes down to third place behind Angers, while Bordeaux improved to sixth spot with goals from Guinea forward Francois Kamano and South Korea striker Hwang Ui-jo.

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