Nice climb into top four
Last Updated: 05/05/13 4:31pm
Jonathan Pitroipa vies for possession with Nemanja Pejcinovic
Nice climbed into the top four of the Ligue 1 standings after defeating mid-table Rennes with three second-half goals.
The visitors broke the deadlock five minutes after half-time through Dario Cvitanich and they received a further boost soon after when Rennes lost Chris Mavinga to a red card for pushing the Nice goalscorer.
Cvitanich then doubled his account for the match from the penalty spot with 19 minutes remaining to make it 2-0 and the points were wrapped up six minutes from time when Eric Bautheac added a third.
Nice also finished the match with 10 men when Nemanja Pejcinovic was dismissed for a professional foul late on, but it made no difference to the final outcome as Claude Puel's side replaced St Etienne in fourth place.
Both sides had chances to take the lead during an evenly-fought first half but were denied by some fine goalkeeping.
Nice custodian David Ospina did well to save from Cheick Diarra early on before producing an even better stop to keep out Abdoulaye Doucoure's 25-yard effort in the 18th minute.
Ospina's Rennes counterpart Benoit Costil also proved his worth with a good save off Luigi Bruine in the 17th minute, while Cvitanich saw a superb right-footed volley fizz just past the post.
Following that exciting opening half-hour, the remainder of the first half produced little to set the pulses racing, but it was a different story after the break with three goals and two dismissals.
The opening goal arrived in the 50th minute when Nice regained possession after Costil had pushed away Didier Digard's free-kick. Luigi Bruins picked up the loose ball and floated in a cross which Pejcinovic headed to Cvitanich to nod in at the far post
Things quickly got worse for Rennes as five minutes later Mavinga was dismissed for shoving Cvitanich in the back and Nice took full advantage to add further goals through Cvitanich and Bautheac.
Cvitanich made it 2-0 from the spot in the 71st minute after Alou Diarra had handled inside the area and Bautheac volleyed home a fine third in the 84th minute.
Pejcinovic's 89th-minute red card for pulling down Jonathan Pitroipa when he was last man soured things slightly for Nice, but they will care little about that if they finish in the European places at the end of the season.
French Ligue 1
|1||Paris St Germain||18||43|
|16||Evian Thonon Gaillar||17||20|