PARIS (AP) — Defenders Jean-Clair Todibo and Melvin Bard scored as Nice beat struggling Brest 2-1 to go third in the French league on Saturday.
Former Barcelona defender Todibo’s first goal of the season came seconds before the break. Bard headed in the second midway through the second half from forward Amine Gouiri’s pass.
Nice is two points behind second-placed Lens and eight behind runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain.
Gouri is the joint top scorer in the league with five goals and added a third assist to his strong start. He was selected up front with new signing Andy Delort as Denmark’s Euro 2020 striker Kasper Dolberg was left on the bench.
After Dutch goalkeeper Marco Bizot made a fine save to keep out Delort’s downward header from a cross, winger Calvin Stengs clipped over the bar for Nice from close range in the 39th as the ball bobbled to him just before he shot.
Nice’s constant pressure finally told when Brest failed to clear Bard’s long free kick and Todibo pounced to turn in the loose ball on the stroke of halftime.
“I told myself that I needed to get inside the area,” the 21-year-old Todibo told broadcaster Canal Plus. “I made a run and the ball fell to me.”
Stengs hit the crossbar after latching onto a superb reverse pass from Delort and from the rebound Gouiri hit the side netting from a very narrow angle.
Moments later, Nice fans were celebrating as Bard, a former Lyon defender, scored with a flying header from the impressive Gouiri’s pass.
Stengs then blazed over in the 75th after Delort chested the ball into his path.
Brest pulled a goal back in the third minute of stoppage time when Franck Honorat rifled home after a miskick from a teammate fell invitingly to him.
Brest and last-placed Saint-Etienne are the only sides yet to win.
In the day’s other game, Montpellier drew 1-1 with Strasbourg in a midtable clash.
Winger Florent Mollet put host Montpellier ahead after 11 minutes with a superb volley from 20 meters after forward Valere Germain intelligently headed the ball back to him.
Veteran striker Kevin Gameiro equalized neatly in the 28th, taking down a long pass with his left foot and shooting with his right for his second goal since rejoining the club where he started his career as an 18-year-old player.
The 34-year-old Gameiro had spells with Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Valencia before returning to the French league. The former international netted three goals in 13 appearances for France.
PSG looks for a ninth straight league win when it visits Rennes. Kylian Mbappe could again line up alongside Neymar and Lionel Messi, who is chasing his first league goal after a brilliant solo effort in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Defending champion Lille faces a Marseille side looking to move back above Nice, and Saint-Etienne hosts Lyon in their bitter local derby.
Around 1,000 Lyon fans encouraged the players at training on Saturday and the players applauded them back.
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