Nice Champions League hopes lost 3-0 to 10-man Lens

PARIS (AP) – Nice’s Champions League hopes put the team fifth in the French league, five points behind Rennes and Marseille, after a 3-0 loss to 10-man Lens on Sunday.

The lens was reduced to 10 players in the 17th minute when wing back Masadio Hydara was sent off to kick Yousef Atal.

Unhappy with the referee’s decision, Lens supporters threw projectiles onto the field, forcing the stadium’s stewards to use the net in the 34th to defend Nice forward Amin Ghori, who was taking a free kick.

Lens substitute Arnaud Kalimuendo scored with a sliding effort in the 51st against the run-off play. Mali international Cheek Doukouré added a second goal in the 55th by curling into the top corner. Kalimuendo defeated the offside trap in the 67th match to draw 3–0.

Nice finished with only nine players as Mario Lemina received a second yellow card for a foul on Doucoure in the 57th, and Brazilian centre-back Dante was red-carded for a scissor tackle on Kalimuendo in stoppage time.

“We conceded two goals with 11 men against 10 because we felt we no longer needed to defend and we didn’t respect the game,” Nice coach Christophe Gaultier told Canal Plus television. “We played a Lens team made up of competitors, Lens played a good team made up of tourists.”

Lens climbed to eighth place, four points behind Nice and a Europa Conference League playoff spot.

Also on Sunday, Strasbourg extended their unbeaten run to nine games and consolidated fourth place in a 1-1 draw with midtable Lyon.

Strasbourg striker Ludovic Ajörk downed a high ball for Ibrahima Sissoko, who took advantage of the defensive mix to slip the ball past Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes in the 20th. Cameron winger Karl Toko Ekambi equalized in the 90th by converting a cross from Leo Dubois.

Strasbourg currently holds the Europa League spot but is only four points away from the Champions League places. The team’s best performance in the last 20 seasons was 10th in 2020.

Sixth-placed Monaco moved within a point of the Europa Conference League playoff spot after beating Troyes 2–1 with goals from Caio Henrique and Kevin Woland.

Lille drew 1–1 with Angers and lost their ground in the race for European places, trailing Monaco by two points. Angers took the lead in the 65th with an own goal from Lille defender Tiago Jalo. But Kosovo winger Aidan Zhegrova equalized in the 74th with a long-range strike into the top corner.

In the Brittany derby, Brest captain Brendan Chardonnat saved a 1–1 draw with Nantes by converting a rebound from a corner in the 67th. Randal Colo Muni increased his tally to 12 league goals for the first time, attempting to place Nantes in 11th place. Play was suspended twice as supporters set fire to the field in the first half and then the field was attacked by supporters in the second half.

Bordeaux broke a four-game goal drought to defeat Metz 3–1 and moved within two points of safety and one point away from the playoff spot.

Metz forward Didier Lamkel Zee rocks a cross from Nicolas de Preville into the bottom corner in the 21st. But Bordeaux rallied with goals from Portuguese wingback Ricardo Mangas in 52nd, Senegalese international M’be Niang in 68th and South Korean striker Hwang Ui-jo in 88th.

It was a third straight loss for Metz, who moved up to last.

The 31st round will end with Marseille vs Montpellier on Sunday.

On Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain beat Clermont 6-1 to extend their lead in the league to 15 points, while Rennes beat Reims 3-2 to take second place.

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