Super Dario makes Nice upwardly mobile
Dario Cvitanich's penalty on the stroke of half-time, the Argentinian forward's eighth goal in his last nine games, was the Nice winner at Sochaux and lifted Les Aiglons into the top half for the first time since Week 5.
FC Sochaux Montbéliard 0-1 OGC Nice
The result plunged Sochaux back into a bottom three they had vacated after the 1-0 success at Ajaccio in Week 13. The key moment arrived in the 44th-minute when Roy Contout was pulled up for handball by referee Jean-Charles Cailleux and the in-form Cvitanich, who'd missed a penalty earlier this season against Saint-Etienne, sent Simon Pouplin the wrong way for his sixth league goal of the season; two of them penalties.
Sochaux had started brightly with Contout providing work for Nice goalkeeper David Ospina inside the first minute, although Claude Puel's Nice worked their way into proceedings and were on top prior to the breakthrough, Camel Meriem with a couple of efforts and then Pouplin coming up with a fabulous save to deny Valentin Eysseric.
Nice had lost their last five at the Bonal so this was a historic occasion for Claude Puel's side who have now put five points between themselves and the drop zone. Sébastien Roudet could have equalised soon after the resumption before Cvitanich spurned a golden chance to put Nice two goals ahead, shooting wide with just Pouplin to beat.
Meriem and Eysseric had further opportunities as Sochaux began to wilt. Nice probably should have enjoyed a greater winning margin and defender Renato Civelli hit the post with a fine late header. His fellow centre-half Nemanja Pejcinovic had grazed the upright with a header of his own a few minutes prior to that.
Nevertheless, Puel will be delighted with the victory that sets Nice up nicely for Wednesday's Coupe de la Ligue quarter-final trip to Montpellier.