Ganago stars as Nice edge Nîmes
Ignatius Ganago proved to be the difference as Nice edged south coast rivals Nîmes at the Stade des Costières, the Cameroonian youngster earning a penalty and scoring in a 2-1 win.
Nîmes Olympique 1-2 OGC Nice
Nice got off to a flying start against their south coast rivals, with Wylan Cyprien sending Paul Bernardoni the wrong way from the penalty spot after Anthony Briançon had handballed in the area (2'). Ignatius Ganago - who had earned Cyprien's penalty after running at Briançon - saw the favour returned minutes later when he turned home Cyprien's free-kick for 2-0 (16'). Nice should really have found themselves 3-0 to the good when Pierre Lees-Melou burst through, but Bernardoni closed down his angles well (22'). Nîmes thought they had reduced the arrears when Zinédine Ferhat headed beyond Yannis Clémentia, but the offside flag went up against the Algeria midfielder (33'). Cyprien then conceded a penalty which Renaud Ripart converted for Nîmes (45') and Les Aiglons carried a 2-1 lead into the interval.
Clémentia holds firm
Nîmes started the second half as they had ended the first, on the front foot, and they were nearly back on level terms minutes after the restart when Ripart let fly following Haris Duljevic's lay-off, but the striker was denied his brace by Clémentia, who saved acrobatically (50'). The odds were further stacked in Nîmes' favour when Nice left-back Racine Coly was given his marching orders for a push on Ferhat (51'). Ferhat then slalomed into the visitors' box and sent the ball beyond Clémentia, but the Martiniquais 'keeper was saved by his woodwork (55'). Nîmes dominated the closing stages but Clémentia was in miserly mood, keeping out Briançon's late header (88'). Briançon and Pablo Martinez were sent off for the hosts deep in injury time as frustration spilled over (98') and it ended 2-1.
THE PLAYER: Ignatius Ganago
Nice fans have been worrying about where their goals might come from ever since Mario Balotelli left for Olympique de Marseille at the start of the year, but it Ganago can keep performing like this they may yet have those fears allayed. The 20-year-old academy graduate struggled to impose his will on the team last season, but his goal and would-be assist for the penalty were just reward for his efforts from the right of Nice's front three on Saturday.
THE STAT: 6
It has been six years, nine months and a day since a player scored, assisted, and conceded a penalty in the same game in Ligue 1 Conforama, Cyprien matching an unwanted record last "achieved" by André Luiz for AS Nancy-Lorraine against ESTAC Troyes in November 2012.