Le Pays De France - Ten-man Nice hang on for draw at Montpellier

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Ten-man Nice hang on for draw at Montpellier
Ten-man Nice hang on for draw at Montpellier

Ten-man Nice hang on for draw at Montpellier

Nice survived the first-half dismissal of captain Dante and Walter Benitez saved a dreadful Panenka penalty to secure a 0-0 draw at Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

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The 38-year-old Brazilian was sent off for the second time in three games following a foul on Elye Wahi in the Nice penalty area 10 minutes before half-time.

Teji Savanier attempted to chip his spot-kick down the middle but his effort was easily held by Benitez, who kept a fourth successive clean sheet for a Nice team with the league's best defence.

"The penalty and the red card changed the match," said Nice coach Christophe Galtier.

"I asked to see (referee) Clement Turpin for an explanation. He judged what Dante did to be unsporting, but I didn't think it was. I consider the red card to be very harsh."

Nice forward Andy Delort hit the post against his former club, as did Montpellier's Valere Germain, who spent the 2015-16 season on loan at the Allianz Riviera.

Nice moved three points clear of Marseille in the race for the second automatic Champions League spot. OM will try to end a three-match winless run Sunday at Brest.

French Cup finalists Nice remain 12 points adrift of runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who have just the league to play for following their midweek Champions League collapse.

PSG host bottom side Bordeaux on Sunday.