Nice move closer to Ligue 1 top two, Lyon held by 10-man Rennes

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Nice move closer to Ligue 1 top two, Lyon held by 10-man Rennes

Paris, April 3 (IANS) Italian striker Mario Balotelli helped Nice come from behind to beat Bordeaux 2-1 at home, while Lyon missed a penalty and conceded a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw against 10-man Rennes in the 31st round of French Ligue 1 football championship.

Third-placed Nice on Sunday snapped their two-game drawing streak, and were provisionally four points adrift of Monaco, and one point behind defending champions Paris Saint-Germain, reports Xinhua news agency.

Nice conceded an early goal just nine minutes into the game, as Gaetan Laborde finished a left-foot shot through the legs of goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale. Balotelli, who just notched two league goals going into 2017, tied the game on the 12-yard spot kick seven minutes later, before Valentin Eysseric got the upper hand for Nice in the 27th minute.

In Rennes, Lyon had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the fifth minute after they were awarded a penalty when Rennes defender Ramy Bensebaini blocked Sergi Darder’s shot with his arm. Rennes were reduced to ten men after Bensebaini was shown a red card.

However, Lyon top scorer Alexandre Lacazette, who recently failed to make the French national squad, missed the chance to improve his scoring account after his spot-kick was blocked by Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil onto the post.

Lyon still managed to build a lead on forward Maxwell Cornet’s shot in the 52nd minute, but they could not convert it into three points as Firmin Mubele equalised for Rennes with eight minutes remaining.

Lyon stand at 16 points behind Nice at fourth place, a huge gap for them to close in their contest for a top three finish this season.

“We should have picked up three points, and it made this draw feel like a loss,” said Lyon head coach Bruno Genesio.

In other action, Lorient took on a 1-0 home win against Caen to move up from the bottom of the table, but they are still desperate for more points to avoid relegation.

Also on Sunday, Montpellier lost to Toulouse 0-1 and Nantes edged past Angers 2-1.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.