Second-place Nice scrapes home win over Metz, Marseille shaken by Monaco draw

PARIS (AP) — Second-placed Nice needed a late penalty to scrape past Metz 1-0 at home and stay on the tail of French league leader Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.

Striker Evann Guessand scored in the 77th minute after being fouled by midfielder Kévin N’Doram, calmly sending goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja the wrong way.

Earlier in the second half, referee Stéphanie Frappart ruled out a potential penalty for Metz after a video review.

That helped to ensure another shutout for Nice, which has the league’s best defense: 11 goals conceded in 19 games.

In a late game, Marseille drew 2-2 at home to fourth-placed Monaco, which finished the game with nine players at Stade Velodrome and still almost won it when Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin botched a late chance.

Veteran strikers Wissam Ben Yedder and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in the first half.

Ben Yedder put Monaco ahead after just seven minutes, latching onto Golovin’s excellent lofted pass and finishing powerfully.

Monaco was reduced to 10 players shortly after when Chile center back Guillermo Maripán pulled back forward Vítinha.

Marseille defender Jonathan Clauss then went off with a right knee injury in the 34th. Four minutes later, Aubameyang poked home the equalizer after Vítinha’s shot came back off the post and a video replay cleared Aubameyang of being offside.

But Aubameyang clumsily lost the ball on the edge of his own penalty area three minutes into first-half stoppage time, and Ben Yedder charged forward before setting up midfielder Maghnes Akliouche for a curler into the bottom left corner.

An action-packed contest saw defender Leonardo Balerdi equalize five minutes into the second half with a thumping 25-meter shot, while Monaco’s second red card came in the 87th when midfielder Denis Zakaria was sent off.

With 40 seconds left in stoppage time, club-record signing Vítinha — who cost Marseille 32 million euros ($34.8 million) — somehow missed an open goal from two meters out to general disbelief from his teammates.

PSG can restore its eight-point lead with a home win against surprise front-runner Brest on Sunday.


AP soccer:

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