Erding fires ASSE past Nice and into sixth
An opportunistic strike from Mevlüt Erding - his first for Saint-Étienne - was enough for ASSE to win 1-0 at OGC Nice. The three points saw Christophe Galtier's side jump from 11th to sixth in the table.
OGC Nice 0 - 1 AS Saint-Etienne
Last season Nice and Saint-Étienne finished fourth and fifth respectively, but this Ligue 1 campaign has been less kind to both so far, with Claude Puel's Nice languishing in 13th before kick-off at their Allianz Riviera on Sunday evening, and visiting ASSE only one point and two places better off in 11th.
With Brandão suspended Christophe Galtier started Erding at the point of the Saint-Étienne attack, and his mobility caused the home side a lot of early problems. The Turkish international was unlucky not to get his name on the scoresheet early on when his opportunism inside the box was met with a smart double save from Lucas Veronese (20').
Erding breaks duck
With usual number one David Ospina out for six weeks with a torn knee ligament, Veronese has been handed the chance to cement his place in the team, but he undid his bright start with a catastrophic misjudgement soon after. Nemanja Pejčinović's pass back to the 22-year-old 'keeper wasn't the safest, but Veronese will still be disappointed to have let the ball slide under his foot when attempting to clear. Erding reacted quickest tap home his first ever goal for ASSE into an open net (23').
Without the injured Mahamane Traoré and suspended top scorer Darío Cvitanich, Nice struggled to get into the game and nearly found themselves further behind just past the half hour when Faouzi Ghoulam let fly from a set piece, but his shot sailed wide and the home side were off the hook (36').
Erding was unlucky not to double his tally immediately after the restart. Ismaël Diomande played the striker through one-on-one with the first move of the second half, but Veronese flew of his line to quell the danger (46'). Moments later Romain Hamouma - provider of six goals and three assists for Les Verts this season – flew down the wing before cutting back to Erding from the touchline. Erding's shot was well struck but Veronese went some way to making amends for his earlier error with a spectacular save to tip the ball over the bar (48').
Having failed to create any meaningful chances in the second half, Puel threw on 17-year-old striker Franck Honorat for the hitherto ineffectual Alexy Bosetti in the final 20 minutes and that seemed to lift Les Aiglons. Honorat's movement kept ASSE centre-backs Loïc Perrin and Moustapha Bayal Sall occupied, freeing up space for the midfielders behind him, yet despite dominating possession in the final third late on, Nice were unable to reward Honorat's hard work with chances - Valentin Eysseric (76'), Fabrice Abriel (81') and Christian Brüls (86') all guilty of loose deliveries into the box.
Saint-Étienne managed to eke out the 1-0 victory for just their second win in nine games. ASSE leap up five places into sixth. Nice stay 13th, and have now lost six of their last eight.