Troyes dampen Nice hopes ahead of Napoli trip
Last season’s surprise package Nice suffered their second setback of the Ligue 1 campaign Friday falling 2-1 at home to promoted Troyes to dampen confidence ahead of next week’s Champions League play-off at Napoli.
The Riviera outfit, third last season but beaten 1-0 at Saint-Etienne in their opener, were without their two star players, the injured Mario Balotelli and new Dutch signing Wesley Sneijder, who watched from the stands.
And coach Lucien Favre revealed that neither would be fit for the away trip to Italy on Wednesday.
“They are not ready. Wesley still has a few days or weeks of preparation. Mario is returning form a hamstring injury. At best he should be on the bench Wednesday,” explained Favre.
The hosts squandered several early chances on front of despairing fans at the Allianz Riviera Stadium with Tunisian Bassem Srarfi, Allan Saint-Maximin, Mamadou Samassa and Alassane Plea all off target in the first 20 minutes.
Troyes’ Adama Niane finally got the breakthrough after 53 minutes with the Malian winning a duel with Brazilian defender Dante to fire past an advancing Yoan Cardinale in goal.
After being drenched by a sudden thunderstorm, Nice thought they were back on track when Alassane Plea converted a penalty ten minutes later.
But a sublime collective effort involving Stéphane Darbion and finished off by Saîf Khaoui gave Troyes their first Ligue 1 win of the season five minutes from time. The promoted side had drawn 1-1 against Rennes in their opener.
Meanwhile, Lyon’s youthful side will be looking to build on last weekend’s 4-0 thumping of Strasbourg when they travel out to Brittany to take on Rennes later on Friday.