23.01.2022 21:10 h

Nice reclaim second in Ligue 1 as rivals slip

Khephren Thuram's goal set up a precious 2-0 away win for Nice on Sunday as they saw off strugglers Metz to move back up to second place in France's Ligue 1.

In the later afternoon games, three teams on Nice's heels, Strasbourg, Rennes and Monaco all lost.

Thuram is one of the footballing sons of French 1998 World Cup icon Lilian Thuram, who scored twice in a memorable semi-final win over Croatia.

On Sunday the strapping 20-year-old Khephren opened the scoring for Nice in the 58th minute while a late spot-kick from Amine Gouiri completed the victory with a cheeky Panenka down the centre.

The three points lift Nice, owned by British chemicals magnate Jim Ratcliffe, above their bitter south coast rivals Marseille, who are two points behind in third with a game in hand.

Nice are coached by Christophe Galtier who joined the club on a high after leading Lille to the French league title last season.

"We are still too far behind (PSG) to think about top spot. I'm more concerned by what's coming up behind us," Galtier said after the game.

"It's about racking up the points and that can be tough when the opponent is fighting relegation. So this was just perfect."

Strasbourg lost 4-3 at Bordeaux where Hwang Ui-Jo hit a hat-trick to lift the home team out of the bottom three.

Bordeaux, who had not scored in three league and cup games this year while conceding 10, hit three in the first 38 minutes but were made to sweat for their victory as their defence then leaked three goals.

South Korean Hwang met a cross from Remi Oudin with his right foot to open the scoring in the 16th minute.

Alberth Elis scored the second on the counter-attack, again from a pass by Oudin, four minutes later.

Then Hwang's left-footed curler in the 39th minute sent the Covid-restricted crowd of 5,000 into a frenzy.

But Kevin Gameiro pulled Strasbourg back into the game with goals before and after half-time.

As Strasbourg pressed, Hwang completed his hat-trick by finishing off a counter-attack to give Bordeaux a cushion that survived a goal by Majeed Waris for the visitors in the sixth minute of added time.

"Hwang had a perfect game, he bailed us out on several occasions. He's had some difficulties in the last few games, so I'm very happy that he's back," said Bordeaux's under-threat coach Vladimir Petkovic.

"I am sorry that we let in three goals," said Petkovic. "We had a very good first half but then the fear of winning the game took over."

Rennes took an 18th-minute lead at another struggler Clermont with a goal by Baptiste Santamaria, but missed several other chances and paid in the second half.

Former Rennes player Lucas Da Cunha levelled in the 59th minute and Jordan Tell struck in the 70th minute.

Clermont are a point and two places ahead of Bordeaux.

Montpellier beat Monaco 3-2 to climb sixth.

Elye Wahi gave the home team a 13th-minute lead and 10 minutes later Stephy Mavididi added a second.

Wissam Ben Yedder hit back for Monaco in the 34th minute and Vanderson levelled in the 8st minute.

But Mavididi snatched victory in stoppage time.

Eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain play Reims in Sunday's late game with goalkeeper Keylor Navas rushed back from a bout of Covid due to an injury to Italy's Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Navas went down with Covid just eight days ago.

Kylian Mbappe returned to the starting lineup after a groin strain while Lionel Messi, returning from Covid was on the bench.