Nice has only French league title to focus on after cup exit
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 09, 2017 11:30 AM
(AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
JEROME PUGMIRE, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — French league leader Nice has only the title race to focus on for the rest of the season after going out of the French Cup on Sunday.
Nice lost 2-1 away to Lorient, which is last in the first division, despite taking the lead through top scorer Alassane Plea near the end of the first half.
Lorient equalized with a fine individual goal from former Arsenal forward Jeremie Aliadiere in the 71st minute, and Algerian midfielder Walid Mesloub's winner shortly after sent Lorient into the fourth round.
"We're frustrated and disappointed because we really wanted to go far in this competition," Nice defender Maxime Le Marchand said. "We didn't cope with their attacks so well in the second half and they took advantage. Maybe they wanted it more than us in some ways, even though we had prepared well."
Nice is also out of the League Cup and the Europa League, while its title rivals Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain are still involved in all three domestic competitions and the Champions League.
But this defeat could ultimately work to Nice's advantage. The league resumes next weekend, with Nice two points ahead of Monaco and five clear of PSG.
"To stay at the top we have to correct our mistakes and not repeat a performance like this," Le Marchand said. "I hope this defeat stings our pride."
Meanwhile, Lyon crushed Montpellier 5-0 with forward Nabil Fekir scoring one and creating two.
Lyon's other goals came from top scorer Alexandre Lacazette, center half Mouctar Diakhaby, and two after the break from forward Maxwel Cornet.
However, Lyon faces a tough trip to Marseille in the fourth round.
Winger Remy Cabella scored his second goal of the game in extra time as Marseille continued its fine form with a 2-1 win against first division rival Toulouse.
Marseille is thriving under coach Rudi Garcia and has lost only one of the last seven games.
First division Metz lost 2-0 at Lens — which is chasing promotion from the second division — but all other top-tier sides advanced.
Brazilian striker Malcom scored a late winner as Bordeaux won 1-0 away to second division Clermont, while Caen, Angers, Saint-Etienne and Rennes beat non-league teams.
Defending champion PSG, which routed Bastia 7-0 on Saturday night, has a difficult match away to Rennes in the next round.