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Nice fall to Marseille, Lyon at fourth spot in Ligue 1

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Paris: Nice lost their chance for a shot at the Ligue 1 title after losing 1-2 to Marseille, while Lyon scored a 3-2 narrow win against Nantes at home for the fourth spot.

Nice were nine points adrift leaders Monaco with only two games remaining. It is almost impossible for them to finish second, a spot that will guarantee an automatic qualification into next season’s UEFA Champions League group stage, reports Xinhua news agency.

In the Mediterranean derby on Sunday, the two sides suffered an unlucky start. Marseille striker Florian Thauvin, who has tallied 15 league goals so far, was forced into an early exit due to injury. Nice saw their two shots hit the post, one from Ricardo Pereira, the other from Dalbert Henrique.

Skipper Bafetimbi Gomis stood out to build a lead for Marseille at 21st minute, when he rose up for a header from Dimitri Payet’s corner, his 18th goal of the campaign.

Italian striker Mario Balotelli continued his fine form in recent games, as he levelled the score for the visitors with a close-range shot five minutes after the restart.

However, it was Marseille’s veteran defender Patrice Evra who grabbed the spotlight in the highly-anticipated matchup.

In the 66th minute, the French international netted his first goal in Marseille since January’s transfer from Serie A side Juventus with a diving header from Maxime Lopez’s cross.

Marseille moved up fifth with a one-point cushion over Bordeaux, one week before their head-to-head clash for an Europa League spot next season.

After Sunday’s victory, Lyon built a comfortable six-point lead against sixth-ranked Bordeaux in their own quest for the Europa League, a tournament they lost 4-1 at Ajax in midweek’s first leg of the semi-final.

Nantes led 1-0 into the halftime thanks to Valentin Rongier, before the hosts snatched three goals in a 15-minute span to turn around the table.

After Nabil Fekir had an equaliser with a spot kick in the 65th minute, promising forward Maxwell Cornet finished a brace. His 80th-minute volley became the winner of the match after Guillaume Gillet once tied it 2-2 for Nantes.

Also on Sunday, Firmin Mubele’s late goal earned Rennes a 1-0 home win against Montpellier.

IANS

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