With Pierre Aristouy’s side in desperate need of points to maintain their top-flight status, the last thing he would have wanted to see was striker Andy Delort forced off injured with only five minutes played. Mostafa Mohamed entered the fray in his place, but that setback did little to deter Les Canaris though in an encouraging start.
Ludovic Blas forced Benjamin Lecomte into a fine save at his near post, while Jean-Charles Castelletto’s cross-shot was tipped over the bar by the Montpellier shot-stopper.
Nantes were continuing to do most of the probing, but the hosts were hit with a sucker punch after Michel Der Zakarian’s side took an unlikely lead. Jordan Ferri latched onto Teji Savanier’s header forward and guided a deft finish past Alban Lafont in the 38th minute - Montpellier’s first shot on target. It also continued a remarkable run for the visitors, who have now scored in their last 14 league games to extend their longest-ever scoring run in the top flight.
Montpellier had the ball in the back of the net again as half-time approached, but Arnaud Nordin failed to beat the offside trap and it remained 1-0 at the break.
Nordin was not to be denied two minutes after the restart though, and you could have heard a pin drop inside the Stade de la Beaujoire when he fired a superb angled strike past Lafont to double Montpellier’s lead, after being brilliantly picked out by Joris Chotard.
Nordin was in the mood for more goals, but was thwarted by Lafont on the occasion with his close-range strike. Aristouy’s men lacked the same intensity in their play after the break, as Nantes failed to register a shot on target after the break to leave Lecomte a mere spectator in the Montpellier goal. Their misery was compounded when Falaye Sacko was coolness personified in slotting a close-range finish past Lafont in the 88th minute.
The result means Les Canaris have now failed to score in their last four Ligue 1 matches and remain languished inside the bottom four, a point behind Auxerre having played a game more. The only saving grace for Nantes is that Christophe Pélissier’s side host title-chasing Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, this win for Montpellier keeps their slender hopes of a top-half finish alive and they stay 12th.