Nice reclaims top spot in Ligue 1 with slim win at Saint-Etienne
Nice moves up the Ligue 1 leaderboard over Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain. AP

PARIS — Valentin Eysseric scored against his former teammates to send Nice three points clear at the top of the French league with a 1-0 win at Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Even without suspended top scorer Mario Balotelli, Nice was dangerous throughout and displayed its usual brand of attacking football.

Having struggled to get past a well-organized defense in the first half, the visitors broke the deadlock after the hour-mark thanks to Eysseric, who played on loan at Saint-Etienne last season.

The midfielder retrieved the ball on the edge of the area, dribbled past Loic Perrin and beat keeper Stephane Ruffier with a brilliant left-foot shot into the top corner.

Though Vincent Koziello had been expected to start at Geoffroy-Guichard stadium, Nice coach Lucien Favre decided to give Eysseric the nod - a move that paid off with the midfielder's his first goal in 11 league games this season.

Having slumped to its first league loss of the season before the international break, Nice bounced back with solid display.

It could have added a second goal in the 65th minute when Alassane Plea sent a shot just wide, with Ruffier looking beaten.

Saint-Etienne was the more threatening team in the first half and had several clear chances, with Nice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale saving a couple of good headers.

Nice reclaimed the lead from Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, which both won at the weekend.


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