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Nice grind out vital win in European quest

Publish on 22/04/2018 at 00h00 - S. WILLIS

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Pierre Lees-Melou's second-half goal gave OGC Nice a 1-0 win over Montpellier Hérault SC on Sunday and a precious three points in their quest for European qualification.

 OGC Nice  1 - 0  Montpellier Hérault SC 

THE MATCH

Lees-Melou struck just before the hour mark on a sun-kissed afternoon at the Allianz Riviera, profiting from some good play from Allan Saint-Maximin before lashing a low shot from range into the bottom corner (59').

Saint-Maximin came close to making it two late on, but Nice settled for a victory by the narrowest of margins, with even the presence of Mario Balotelli in attack unable to overly trouble the visiting defence.

It is just one defeat in eight outings now for Lucien Favre's side, with that a narrow reverse at home to the champions Paris Saint-Germain. It leaves them in a UEFA Europa League qualifying spot in fifth, four points clear of Montpellier. They are now eighth, their own European ambitions hit by this first Ligue 1 Conforama defeat since January.

THE PLAYER: Pierre Lees-Melou
The ever-improving midfielder was Nice's hero as his fifth Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the campaign gave Les Aiglons the wings to go on and claim this vital victory.

THE STAT: 5
Montpellier had gone five away league games without losing before this trip along the Mediterranean coast. Indeed, they had lost just once in 14 on the road prior to facing Favre's men.