Seri stunner earns Nice point
Jean Michaël Seri struck a superb goal as OGC Nice escaped from the home of in-form FC Nantes with a point following Saturday's 1-1 draw.
FC Nantes 1-1 OGC Nice
Resurgent under Sergio Conceiçao, Nantes made a mockery of their poor home form with a positive start in front of their own fans. Adrien Thomasson cut inside before threading a low shot goalwards that Yoan Cardinale did well to push out (14') before Les Canaris were justly rewarded with the opening goal.
Lucas Lima, providing width down the left, crossed for Jules Iloki - he instantly laid the ball back for Emiliano Sala, whose powerful sidefoot shot was too good for Cardinale, even though he got a hand to it (22').
The only surprising thing about Nantes' lead was that it only last six minutes. Nice had barely threatened when Valentin Eysseric shimmied forward, and after a cute Younès Belhanda flick, Seri arrowed a gorgeous drive into Maxime Dupé's top right-hand corner.
The Ivory Coast international midfielder's fourth goal of the season stunned the Stade de la Beaujoire crowd into silence, and cowed the hosts. Mario Balotelli's sharp turn and shot tested Dupé (32') before Nantes, dramatic 3-2 winners at Montpellier last time out, recovered their poise.
Dante headed over shortly after the break (48'), but Nice produced little goal threat otherwise as Nantes continued to press for a second. Préjuce Nakoulma's header bounced along the crossbar with Cardinale caught out by its flight (55')
Nakoulma then headed goalwards, though straight at Cardinale, and volleyed narrowly wide with the Nice 'keeper a spectator in the space of 60 exhiliarating seconds (68') when it seemed certain Nantes would secure a third straight home win.
It looked more likely still when Nakoulma burst forward and played in Sala, but though he chipped over the advancing Cardinale, the Argentine forward's effort dropped wide of the empty goal (78').
Diego Carlos headed wide (80'), Valentin Rongier shot over wastefully (84') and Nakoulma was bundled over by Eysseric in the penalty area (90+1') only for the Burkina Faso striker's vehement penalty appeal to provoke a yellow card rather than the hoped-for spot-kick from referee Benoît Millot.
THE PLAYER: Préjuce Naklouma
The January arrival was everything Nantes have been lacking going forward: pacy, direct and dangerous.
THE STAT: 7
Nice are now unbeaten in their last seven league games (4 wins, 3 draws) and remain on course for their best Ligue 1 finish since ending runners-up in the 1975/76 campaign.