Nice draws 0-0 at Montpellier, Nantes loses 1-0 at Troyes

March 12, 2022 GMT

PARIS (AP) — Second-place Nice escaped with a 0-0 draw in the French league on Saturday after captain Dante was sent off and Montpellier midfielder Teji Savanier fluffed a first-half penalty.

Nice is 12 points behind runaway leader Paris Saint-Germain and three points ahead of Marseille, which can move level if it wins at Brest on Sunday. Second spot guarantees qualification for the Champions League.

The 38-year-old Dante has won the Champions League in the red jersey of former club Bayern Munich. He saw red in the 35th minute on Saturday after fouling Elye Wahi, a lively striker who is half his age.

Savanier is one of the league’s best midfielders, but he tried a Panenka-style spot kick for the hosts from a two-step run-up. Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez didn’t fall for it and made an easy save.

Dante, who scored a superbly taken Panenka when Nice knocked PSG out of the French Cup, will have been relieved.

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Benitez was beaten shortly after the break, but forward Valere Germain’s shot hit the post.

In the day’s other game, Canada striker Ike Ugbo struck just before halftime as Troyes won 1-0 at home to Nantes to move further away from relegation trouble and into 15th place.

The 23-year-old Ugbo was signed by Chelsea at age 16 but is now on loan from Belgian side Genk. He showed good technique to turn in a rapid cross from the left in the 43rd.

Coach Antoine Kombouare’s Nantes was looking for a sixth win in seven games, but instead stayed in seventh place and four points behind Rennes in fourth and the automatic Champions League spot.

SUNDAY’S GAMES

Runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain hosts last-place Bordeaux in a tense atmosphere after the club’s stunning midweek defeat — and exit — in the Champions League against Real Madrid in the round of 16.

It was the third humiliating exit in five years from Europe’s elite competition, following history-making defeats away to Barcelona and at home to Manchester United after comfortable first-leg wins.

PSG’s hardcore ultras group — known as CUP — demanded in a statement Saturday night that PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi leave the club immediately.

“It’s nothing personal but he’s not the right man for the situation,” the statement read. “The situation at the club means there’s a need for a complete restructuring.”

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