Nice beaten at Montpellier
Montpellier Hérault SC came from behind to beat OGC Nice 2-1 on Saturday and the Côte d'Azur outfits ambitions of joining Paris Saint-Germain at the top of the table.
Montpellier Hérault SC 2-1 OGC Nice
Nice boss Patrick Vieira handed summer signing Kasper Dolberg his debut, but the Denmark international was upstaged by Walter Benitez, who kept Montpellier out after Ambroise Oyongo had blasted past Patrick Burner and Racine Coly (16').
Nice had lost just one of their opening four matches, Montpellier had won only once, but the hosts looked the sharper. Jordan Ferri even managed to beat Benitez from distance with a dipping half-volley, but the former Olympique Lyonnais man found the post (25').
A Benitez double save denied Delort (30') before Nice went in front against the run of play. A Benitez clearance dropped for Youcef Atal, who charged forward down the left before cutting inside and into the penalty area. Vitorino Hilton's challenge touched the ball away from the Algeria international full-back, but only succeeded in teeing up Adrien Tameze, whose fierce drive flashed past Geronimo Rulli (35'). It was Nice's eighth league goal of the season, but their first from open play.
Montpellier had only scored twice in Ligue 1 Conforama all season prior to kick-off, but needed less than two minutes to hit back. Pedro Mendes' header to an inswinging corner brought a spectacular reflex save from Benitez, but when the ball looped up, Pierre Lees-Mélou's attempted headed clearance hit Delort and crossed the line (37').
Rulli was handily placed when Cyprien smashed a volley goalwards in the opening seconds of the second half (46'), but it was Montpellier who seized the initiative. Florent Mollet took a deft touch at full pace before rolling the ball across Benitez to tuck his shot just inside the far post (56') for a top-quality first league goal of the campaign.
Nice would have claimed a point but for Hilton, who blocked Ignatius Ganogo's goalbound shot after a mix-up between Nicolas Cozza and Rulli had presented the Nice substitute with the opportunity (78').
THE PLAYER: Wylan Cyprien
The midfielder is back to his influential best. Nice's fine start to the season has been due in large part to their number 25, whose drive and vision in the middle of the park was again evident.
THE STAT: 460
Hilton made his 460 top-flight appearance in France — the 42-year-old Brazilian is now level with Etienne Didot in 45th place in the league's list of all-time appearance makers.