Nice win despite Balotelli seeing red
Wylan Cyprien's 15th-minute goal was enough for Nice to win 1-0 at Lorient to climb to second in the table, despite Mario Balotelli seeing red for the third time this season in the second half.
FC Lorient 0-1 OGC Nice
Les Aiglons made the most of Monaco dropping points on Friday night and champions Paris Saint-Germain not playing until Sunday to stay firmly in the title race. Cyprien has been a key player for Nice all season and the former Nice midfielder scored the only goal of the match on the quarter-hour, greeting Arnaud Souquet's low cross with a near-post finish that evaded Benjamin Lecomte.
Lorient turned to Benjamin Moukandjo for inspiration and the Africa Cup of Nations champion with Cameroon was off target with a shot shortly after Cyprien's goal. Sylvain Marveaux was equally unable to get his aim right for the relegation-threatened side.
Lecomte had to save well from Younes Belhanda before half-time yet ten minutes into the second half it was Nice shotstopper Yoan Cardinale who made two pointblank saves from Zargo Touré and François Bellugou headers.
Balotelli was sent off with just over twenty minutes on the clock, the Italian international given his marching orders by Tony Chapron for a bad reaction after a challenge with Touré.
Lorient pressed hard with their extra man and Cardinale saw a Majeed Waris shot go wide before saving a header from the Ghanaian. Les Merlus dominated overall and could be disappointed with slumping to a fourth defeat in five as they stayed rooted to the foot of the table. Nice climbed to three points back from leaders Monaco.
THE PLAYER: Mario Balotelli
Balotelli is still without an away goal this season and was sent off for the second time against Lorient this season.
THE STAT: 6
This was Nice's first away win in six outings.