Sofiane Alakouch grabbed the only goal as Nîmes Olympique got back to winning ways, beating 10-man FC Nantes 1-0 on Wednesday.
Nîmes Olympique 1 - 0 FC Nantes
Goal: 1-0 Alakouch (64')
The Crocodiles had lost their last four matches in all competitions and they had rather a torrid time of it in the first half here at the Stade des Costières. Indeed, Nantes were twice denied by the woodwork in the opening period, first when Lucas Lima's hanging cross from the left was headed against the top of the post by giant Malian striker Kalifa Coulibaly (12').
Visiting skipper Valentin Rongier then crashed a shot against the other upright in the 36th minute, with goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni possibly brushing the ball with his fingertips on its way past.
Sala on bench
Les Canaris were looking to get back to winning ways following their weekend derby defeat at the hands of Stade Rennais FC. However, leading scorer Emiliano Sala was left on the bench at kick-off here after the build-up to this game had been dominated by speculation the Argentine could be on his way to Premier League side Cardiff City.
Nantes then saw their hopes of taking the points here hit when Coulibaly - making his first start in a league game since late August - was sent off in first-half stoppage time, seeing a second yellow card for catching Faitout Maouassa with an elbow.
The hosts made their extra man count as they grabbed a 64th-minute winner. Renaud Ripart laid the ball off in the box for Alakouch, who hit a low shot across Ciprian Tătăruşanu and into the far corner with the aid of a slight deflection off Nicolas Pallois.
The result sees Nîmes move above Nantes and up into mid-table. Nantes have now lost three of their last four in the league.
THE PLAYER: Kalifa Coulibaly
With Sala, scorer of 12 goals this season, not deemed in condition to start, the 27-year-old Coulibaly was handed just his third Ligue 1 Conforama start of the campaign. But after hitting the post with an early header, his sending-off just before the interval proved to be a turning point in this game. He will now be banned for Sunday's derby at Angers SCO.
THE STAT: 1The winning goal was also the first scored in the top flight by the 20-year-old Alakouch.