Nice boost Champions League hopes by beating Lorient

Nice overcame Lorient 2-1 in Ligue 1 on Sunday, reviving their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League, before Lyon thrashed Bordeaux 6-1.

Delort put Nice ahead with a penalty early in the second half on the Cote d’Azur after Khephren Thuram was fouled, but Armand Lauriente immediately equalized for relegation-threatened Lorient.

However, with the game on the verge of a tie, substitute Kasper Dolberg picked up Delort with a brilliant cross in the 88th minute, and he headed in his 10th Ligue 1 goal for Nice to clinch the win.

Nice had gone four games without a victory, dropping from second to outside the European qualification places before this match.

The club’s owners, Ineos, the firm led by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, have great expectations.

The win put them back up to the fourth position and within two points of third-placed Rennes, who lost 3-2 at home to Monaco on Friday.

Only the top two in France qualify directly for the Champions League, with third place moving into the qualification rounds and fourth going into the Europa League.

The top two in Ligue 1 meet later on Sunday when leaders Paris Saint-Germain visit arch-rivals Marseille.

PSG are 12 points ahead at the top with seven games remaining, and a win against Marseille would give them a chance to win their eighth league championship in ten seasons as early as Wednesday.

Lyon were aiming to rebound from their midweek Europa League quarter-final defeat at the hands of West Ham United, and they demolished Bordeaux 6-1 to keep their opponents in the automatic relegation zone.

Lyon secured their greatest victory of the season, with Moussa Dembele and Karl Toko-Ekambi both scoring twice, as they attempt to salvage European qualifying from a poor season.

Cameroon striker Toko-first Ekambi’s goal came as a gift when Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin spectacularly miskicked a back-pass.

Romain Faivre and Lucas Paqueta both scored for Lyon, but Sekou Mara equalized with a penalty for Bordeaux, who sit 19th and three points behind Clermont in the relegation play-offs.

Lyon are eighth, four points behind Strasbourg in fifth place, which is a qualifying slot for the Europa Conference League.

Strasbourg had previously regained the fifth place on goal difference after a 1-1 draw at struggling Troyes.

Nantes, who will face Nice in next month’s French Cup final, drew 1-1 at home to local rivals Angers, putting their prospects of European participation via the league in jeopardy.

Metz drew 1-1 at home against Clermont, leaving them five points behind their opponents.

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