Troyes stun Nice
Promoted ESTAC Troyes picked up a 2-1 win over last season's third-placed team OGC Nice, with Adama Niane (54') and Saîf-Eddine Khaoui (85') scoring to drown out Alassane Pléa's penalty for the hosts (63').
OGC Nice 1-2 ESTAC Troyes
Nice began the day without the injured Mario Balotelli and recently signed Wesley Sneijder, but Lucien Favre's men dominated early on at the Allianz Riviera even without those star names. Bassem Srarfi and Pierre Lees-Melou - the latter acquired from Dijon FCO in the summer - look to be forming a quick understanding, and an early one-two between the pair nearly resulted in Srarfi breaking the deadlock but his shot drifted wide (10'). Allan Saint-Maximin was then inches away from opening his OGCN account following his own summer transfer from AS Monaco, but Mamadou Samassa in the visiting goal did just enough to divert the forward's effort wide (18'). Pléa then danced his way through the Troyes defence before letting fly, but this time the woodwork saved Samassa after the shot had beaten him (33').
Second to Niane
Whatever ESTAC coach Jean-Louis Garcia said to his charges at half-time seemed to spur them into action, though, and the second half was less than ten minutes old when they opened the scoring. Niane - last season's Ligue 2 top scorer with 23 - got the better of Dante before a beautiful lob over Yoan Cardinale in the home goal (54'). Nice battled back onto level terms just past the hour. Oswaldo Vizcarrondo fouled Lees-Melou in the box; referee Olivier Thual pointed to the spot; and Pléa stepped up to convert the leveller past Samassa, who had dived the right way (63'). But it was to be Troyes' day. Khaoui replaced Samuel Grandsir for the final few minutes and the Olympique de Marseille-owned man snatched the win with his first touch of the ball, thumping home after Niane's header down to him (85')
THE PLAYER: Adama Niane
Niane had 63 career goals to his name coming into Friday's encounter, but this was his first in the top flight. The 24-year-old made his Mali debut at the Africa Cup of Nations in June, helping his country to a 2-1 win over Gabon, and his sublime finish here, assist, and team-high 87 per cent pass completion rate combine to make him look more than ready for the big time.
THE STAT: 19
This was Troyes' first win away to Nice in 19 attempts in all competitions. The last time ESTAC returned to the Champagne region with so much as a point from the Côte d'Azur was July 2005, when Sébastien Dallet (ESTAC) and Marama Vahirua (OGCN) exchanged goals at the old Stade Municipal du Ray. Troyes captain Benjamin Nivet was the only player to start that game and this, while a certain Blaise Matuidi - now of Paris Saint-Germain - lined up alongside him in midfield.