Troyes dampen Nice hopes ahead of Napoli trip

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PARIS: Last sea­son’s sur­prise pack­age Nice suf­fered their sec­ond set­back of the Ligue 1 cam­paign Fri­day fall­ing 2-1 at home to pro­moted Troyes to dampen con­fi­dence ahead of Cham­pi­ons League play­off at Napoli on Wed­nes­day.

The Riviera out­fit, third last sea­son but beaten 1-0 at Sain­tE­ti­enne in their opener, were with­out their two star play­ers, the in­jured Mario Balotelli and new Dutch sign­ing Wes­ley Snei­jder, who watched from the stands.

And Nice coach Lu­cien Favre re­vealed that nei­ther would be fit for the away trip to Italy.

“They are not ready. Wes­ley still has a few days or weeks of prepa­ra­tion. Mario is re­turn­ing form a ham­string in­jury. At best he should be on the bench,” ex­plained Favre.

The hosts squan­dered sev­eral early chances on front of de­spair­ing fans at the Al­lianz Riviera Sta­dium.

Troyes’ Adama Niane got the break­through af­ter 53 min­utes with the Malian win­ning a duel with Brazil­ian de­fender Dante to fire past an ad­vanc­ing Yoan Car­di­nale in goal.

Af­ter be­ing drenched by a sud­den thun­der­storm, Nice thought they were back on track when Alas­sane Plea con­verted a penalty ten min­utes later.

But a sub­lime col­lec­tive ef­fort in­volv­ing Stephane Dar­bion and fin­ished off by Saîf Khaoui gave Troyes their first Ligue 1 win of the sea­son five min­utes from time. The pro­moted side had drawn 1-1 against Rennes in their opener.

Mean­while, Lyon’s youth­ful side followed on last week­end’s 4-0 thump­ing of Stras­bourg with a 2-1 win at Rennes to move pro­vi­sion­ally top of the ta­ble.

All goals came in the sec­ond half with Dutch winger Memphis De­pay get­ting off the mark on 57 min­utes with a free kick fol­low­ing a mis­take by Rennes goal­keeper Ab­doulaye Diallo.

Do­mini­can striker Mar­i­ano headed in the sec­ond off a Na­bil Fekir cross with quar­ter of an hour to go with a Ben­jamin Bourigeaud free kick five min­utes from time get­ting the hosts on the score­sheet. AFP

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