Italian forward Mario Balotelli could not find the net as Nice dropped two crucial points in their bid for French Ligue 1 football championship after a 1-1 draw with Nantes.
With two consecutive draws — second on Saturday, Nice remained third with a four-point gap from league leaders Monaco, who will visit Caen on Sunday. Defending champions Paris Saint-Germain led Nice by one point at second, with a highly-anticipated clash with Lyon at the Parc des Princes, reports Xinhua news agency.
Balotelli did not prove himself after Nice top scorer Alassane Plea was out of the season. He was often isolated up front, as Nantes did an excellent job on cutting his connection with teammates.
Argentine striker Emiliano Sala earned Nantes a 1-0 lead in the 22nd minute, before Nice tied the game on Jean-Michel Seri’s superb shot from the edge of the box just five minutes later.
Prejuce Nakoulma, who joined Nantes in winter transfer window, saw his header hit the crossbar in the 55th minute.
With a 5-1 home win over Montpellier, Bordeaux caught up with fifth-placed Marseille on 46 points, just trailing by goal difference.
Also on Saturday, Angers crushed over Guingamp 3-0, Nancy lost to bottom-ranked Lorient 3-2, and Toulouse had a goalless draw with Rennes.