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French Ligue 1

Municipal du Ray 10th March 2013 - Kick off 13:00 Ref: T Chapron

Nice Nice vs Montpellier Montpellier

Nice 2

S Bahoken (12, 24)

ft

Bahoken at the double

Last Updated: 10/03/13 4:12pm

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Stephane Bahoken celebrates.

Stephane Bahoken celebrates.

Stephane Bahoken marked his first start in Ligue 1 with a first-half brace in the 2-0 win against Montpellier to lift Nice to fifth.

The young striker scored from close range in the 12th minute and again in the 24th as his side bounced back in style from last week's 4-0 defeat to St Etienne.

Montpellier pressed in the second half and hit the woodwork through Younes Belhanda, but the reigning champions could not find a way back into the game.

The St Etienne setback was Nice's first defeat in six games, with 13 points gained over that period, but they had an early scare when John Utaka's drive skimmed the outside of the post.

But the hosts were soon on the front foot and took the lead just three minutes after that chance, when Eric Bautheac dispossessed defender Hilton and broke through before setting up Bahoken to slot home his first senior goal.

And with 24 minutes on the clock, Luigi Bruins' shot after a solo run rebounded off the post to give Bahoken another simple finish.

Hilton compounded his earlier error by deflecting away team-mate Belhanda's goalbound shot as Montpellier failed to cut the arrears by half-time.

They had chances after the interval, with Nice keeper David Ospina saving Belhanda's header and Anthony Mounier's low volley.

Most of the goalmouth action, though, was saved for a frantic last five minutes in which Montpellier threw everything at the home defence.

Souleymane Camara teed up Belhanda to smash a left-foot drive against the crossbar and it set the tone for the game's finale.

Camara himself fired into the side-netting from 20 yards and another clean strike from Belhanda bounced to safety off defender Renato Civelli.

That allowed Nice to hold on for their first win in nine meetings with Montpellier, and they could even have extended their lead in stoppage time when substitute Neal Maupay, on for Bahoken, seized on defensive uncertainty but was denied by keeper Geoffrey Jourdren.

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Matches

Table

French Ligue 1

French Ligue 1
Pos Team P Pts
1 Paris St Germain 38 89
2 Monaco 38 80
3 Lille 38 71
4 St Etienne 38 69
5 Lyon 38 61
6 Marseille 38 60
7 Bordeaux 38 53
8 Lorient 38 49
9 Toulouse 38 49
10 Bastia 38 49
11 Reims 38 48
12 Rennes 38 46
13 Nantes 38 46
14 Evian Thonon Gaillar 38 44
15 Montpellier 38 42
16 Guingamp 38 42
17 Nice 38 42
18 Sochaux 38 40
19 Valenciennes 38 29
20 AC Ajaccio 38 23