Nancy defeat nine-man Montpellier
Montpellier slipped further behind Paris St Germain in the Ligue 1 title race after going down to narrow defeat at Nancy. Andre Luiz scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute as Montpellier ended the game with nine men following the dismissals of Vitorino Hilton and Benjamin Stambouli.
The defeat could have been costlier for Montpellier but in the end they lost just a point on PSG, who were held to a draw at Caen and now lead by two points at the summit. Victory for Nancy extends their unbeaten run to three matches as their climb away from the foot of the standings continues.
The first half was scrappy, with both sides managing just one chance of note apiece. Ligue 1's top scorer Olivier Giroud went closest for Montpellier in the 19th minute after a slick team move, but the France striker could not keep his volley on target.
Loosemy Karaboue spurned Nancy's best chance of the half, guiding his left-footed shot just wide of the target in the 39th minute. The match swung in the hosts' favour in the 42nd minute when Hilton saw red for a professional foul on Djamel Bakar, although Nancy's players were furious that the referee called the foul as Daniel Niculae had already tucked the ball in the net.
Montpellier goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren had to be on his toes to deny Karaboue early in the second half but on 60 minutes the task got even harder for the visitors when Stambouli was penalised for a foul on Bakar in the area and was sent off. Luiz stepped up to take the spot kick and squeezed the ball home with Jourdren very nearly making a save with his feet.
The nine men of Montpellier might have snatched a point in the 82nd minute had luck been with them but Giroud's chest down and volley came back off the crossbar.