Nice lose ground, Marseille beaten in League 1


Paris (AFP) – Nice’s fading Ligue 1 title aspirations suffered a costly setback as they fell five points behind leaders Monaco despite rallying from two goals down in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Rennes.

First-half strikes from Morgan Amalfitano and Giovanni Sio left Rennes on course for a first win in nine matches, but Valentin Eysseric set up Anastasios Dosis to pull one back on the hour mark.

Eysseric then raced clear as Nice caught Rennes on the counter-attack to equalise nine minutes from time with the visitors salvaging a point in the absence of an unwell Mario Balotelli.

However, Lucien Favre’s side, who topped the table at the start of the year, have won just twice in their last seven matches to leave aspirations of upstaging Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain looking increasingly remote.

“I think it’s a good point. We were squeezed like lemons, and they did it very well,” Favre said of the home side’s suffocating tactics.

“Psychologically it’s important to come back from 2-0 down to 2-2. At the end we could have even done more but they also had chances on the counter… if you concede a third, it’s all over.” 

Later, strugglers Nantes upset Marseille 3-2.

Goals from Diego Carlos and Mariusz Stepinski in the first 20 minutes put Nantes in control.

Bafetimbi Gomis halved the deficit three minutes after the restart, his shot helped past Nantes keeper Remy Riou by a deflection off the right post.

Marseille’s chances of getting something out of the match were made that much harder two minutes later when Adrien Thomasson foiled Yohanne Pele at close range.

The south coast club’s defensive frailties were exposed again when Lucas Lima fired in a free-kick which hit the post, Sala getting the rebound in the back of the net but the effort was disallowed for a foul by Carlos on Pele.

On the hour Morgan Sanson crossed to Gomis who headed in to give the visitors renewed hope. Gomis had to come off shortly after with an injured knee.

Marseille, who remain in sixth place, bossed the closing stages but Nantes, one point off the relegation zone before kick-off, held on to jump five places to 12th.

On Saturday, Kylian Mbappe netted a hat-trick while Radamel Falcao struck twice as Monaco thrashed Metz 5-0 at home to stay three points clear of reigning champions PSG.

The capital club cruised to a 3-0 victory at Bordeaux on Friday with Edinson Cavani — now up to 25 league goals this season — scoring either side of an Angel Di Maria effort.

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