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Leagues: Ligue Un

Nice held as rivals turn up pressure

Paris (AFP) – Nice reclaimed top spot in Ligue 1 on Sunday but had their momentum slowed in a 1-1 draw at home to bitter rivals Bastia at the Allianz Riviera.

Alassane Plea had put the home side in front only for Enzo Crivelli to earn the Corsicans a draw and leave Nice with only one win in their last five games in all competitions.

Lucien Favre’s side are back on top of the table after seeing Cote d’Azur neighbours Monaco leapfrog them on Saturday by beating Marseille 4-0, but their lead at the summit has been trimmed to a single point over the course of the weekend.

Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain can join Monaco and also move to within one point of Nice with a win when they visit Lyon later on Sunday.

Those two are in superb form — Monaco have won their last five matches and are unbeaten in eight, while PSG have gone 10 games without defeat.

In contrast, Nice have shown some signs that the pace is beginning to catch up with them recently and this game came less than 72 hours after a defeat away to Schalke in Germany eliminated them from the Europa League.

Favre made five changes to his team from the Schalke game but he was still without Mario Balotelli with the Italy striker sidelined by a calf injury.

Plea is their leading scorer and he headed in his eighth of the season to give Les Aiglons the breakthrough with just 11 minutes on the clock.

However, struggling Bastia — who had not won any of their previous six league outings — equalised on the hour as Crivelli followed up to score after goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale had come out and saved from Yannick Cahuzac.

Nice still could have taken all three points but Malang Sarr headed against the post from a Jean Michael Seri free-kick and Plea rounded goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca only to hit the bar with his shot three minutes from the end.

Saint-Etienne won 2-1 at Angers earlier in the day to go eighth.

On Saturday, Monaco secured their record margin of victory against Marseille thanks to a brace by Valere Germain in between a brilliant Gabriel Boschilia free-kick and a Guido Carrillo effort at the death.

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