Despite Marseille coming in as red-hot favourites, Nice fans had cause for optimism before kick-off due to Didier Digard’s unbeaten beginning as interim boss and a first look at January signing Terem Moffi. The debutant was involved straight away, bursting down the right flank with a powerful run and cross to Khéphren Thuram, who had far too much time and space to have curled his effort wide. The hosts then tested Kasper Schmeichel twice, through Jonathan Clauss and Cengiz Ünder, but the pendulum swung emphatically towards Les Aiglons just before the break.
Sofiane Diop was the first to strike, going airborne to head home Gaëtan Laborde’s rebound and stun the home crowd into silence. The silence turned to shock when, for the second time in a matter of minutes, López parried straight back into the danger area, and this time Laborde was alert to jab home at the near post.
The hosts’ record signing, Vitinha, was ruthlessly hauled off at HT and Igor Tudor’s bold call produced immediate results. It took less than 15 minutes for substitute Ruslan Malinovskyi to pull one back, latching onto Clauss’ low cross with an expert finish to become OM’s 18th different Ligue 1 scorer this term - an unmatched total across Europe’s ‘top five’ leagues. But there was still time for the visitors to cap off a glorious night in style, as Billal Brahimi channelled his inner Arjen Robben to cut in from the right and lash a left-footed effort past the despairing López.
Marseille remain second in Ligue 1, having spurned the chance to go within five points of Paris Saint-Germain, and tough times are coming with their next two home clashes, in the Coupe de France and the league, coming against the defending champions. Nice, meanwhile, jump up to eighth after Digard’s fourth win from five, edging closer to European qualification as his glittering start continues.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Aaron Ramsey (OGC Nice)