December 11, 2012
Rennes pay the penalty
caption:Dario Cvitanich scored Nice's winner from the penalty spot
Dario Cvitanich's penalty midway through the second half moved the south-coast club level on points with their opponents and firmly in the hunt for fourth place.
Rennes' cause was not helped by a 53rd-minute red card for Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik and the dismissal of Yassine Jebbour 11 minutes later for conceding the penalty.
The first half was a desperate affair, with Jeremy Pied's long-range effort going just wide for Nice and Kana-Biyik narrowly failing to pick out Mevlut Erding with a far-post cross at the other end.
The visitors were the first to threaten after the break as Sadio Diallo brought the ball down on the edge of the area and forced a decent save out of David Ospina.
But Rennes' hopes suffered a setback just two minutes later, in the 53rd minute, when Kana-Biyik was dismissed, the defender shown a second yellow card for hauling down Cvitanich in midfield.
And 10 men became nine in the 64th minute when Jebbour pushed Eric Bautheac in the area to concede a spot-kick.
Cvitanich took full advantage as he powered his penalty home.
The visitors faced a mountain to climb to get back into the match, but Jonathan Pitroipa almost produced a moment of magic, beating two Nice defenders before unleashing a shot which Ospina needed two attempts to gather.
That was as close as they came, though, and at the other end Didier Digard fired narrowly over from 30 yards as Nice picked up a valuable win.
|Darío Cvitanich (pen 66')|