Ligue 1: Nantes leapfrog Guingamp with first win in seven games
Nantes ended their miserable Ligue 1 run as Yacine Bammou's fifth goal of the season saw off Guingamp 1-0 at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
But Nantes did it the hard way as centre-back Oswaldo Vizcarrondo was sent off in the final minute when he received a second yellow card for fouling Ladislas Douniama and Thibaut Giresse spurned a chance to equalise in the final seconds.
Les Canaris had slipped towards relegation danger after going seven games without a win but Bammou struck after 68 minutes when substitute Adama Niane helped Olivier Veigneau's cross into his path.
Guingamp had been in Europa League action in Ukraine on Thursday when they lost to Dynamo Kiev in a controversial tie temporarily halted by crowd trouble.
However, the visitors showed no ill-effects of those events when Christophe Mandanne latched on to Papy Djilobodji's poor fifth-minute pass and fired past Nantes goalkeeper Remy Riou but into the side netting.
Nantes' lack of confidence from their poor form was reflected by a lack of rhythm in the opening half-hour and they only managed long-distance efforts from Serge Gakpe and Lucas Deaux to test Jonas Lossl in the Guingamp goal.
Guingamp defended resolutely even though Nantes enjoyed 60 per cent possession in the first half and the visitors were prepared to be patient and wait for their opportunities.
One such opening came when Giresse's free-kick found its way to an unmarked Mandanne at the back post and Riou had to be alert to keep the game scoreless.
The lucky escape brought Nantes to life and moments later Bammou fired just wide of the post before Deaux sent another effort straight at Lossl.
But Bammou finally eased Nantes nerves as the game went into the final quarter, and the striker almost added a second after Vincent Bessat's determined run caused panic inside the Guingamp area.
Guingamp's last chance to salvage a point came when Giresse was denied by Riou after Vizcarrondo saw red and Nantes held firm to claim a precious victory.
Montpellier 2, Nice 1
Montpellier continued their fine form to move into the top six of Ligue 1 with a 2-1 home victory over Nice.
Eric Bautheac stroked home a 36th-minute penalty to give Nice a surprise lead but Bryan Dabo levelled moments before the break and Paraguay international Lucas Barrios struck midway through the second half to give Montpellier a fifth win in seven games.
Nice have now gone five matches since winning three in a row after the winter break and lie in 13th place in Ligue 1.
Despite a bright start from Montpellier it was their goalkeeper who was called into action twice early on.
Geoffrey Jourdren was forced into a solid save to deny Carlos Eduardo before he turned Alassane Plea's effort over the bar after Jordan Amavi had picked out the Nice forward.
Montpellier responded but Morgan Sanson could only drag a shot just past the post as both sides looked to gain a foothold in the encounter.
Nice did just that when Mathieu Deplange brought down Niklas Hult and referee Ruddy Buquet pointed to the spot, Bautheac confidently slotting it beyond Jourdren for Nice's first league goal in almost seven hours of football.
But the visitors could not hold onto their lead until half-time as Montpellier hit back with just a minute to play before the break.
Anthony Mounier broke down the left and, despite Amavi getting a good enough touch on his delivery, Dabo was on hand at the back post to poke the ball home.
Montpellier continued to press after the interval and Mounier should have put them ahead but he got it all wrong after Sanson's pass fell kindly for him.
The home fans did not have to wait much longer though when, on 66 minutes, Barrios' clever back-heel released Souleymane Camara and after his shot was saved by Mouez Hassan, the Paraguayan was on hand to tap home.
Camara was given another chance to beat Hassan when he escaped the Nice defence but the hosts' keeper stood up well to block the effort and the visitors failed to muster a response in the final quarter.