Caen striker Ronny Rodelin scored a last-minute goal with an acrobatic volley to salvage a 1-1 draw against Nice in the French league on Sunday. Nice had looked set for a second consecutive win as it attempts to turn around its season. But Rodelin connected with a cross from Romain Genevois at the far post to unleash a superb right-footed effort and secure a point for the hosts.
Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez, who had been decisive on two occasions earlier, failed to keep up with Rodelin’s move. Despite Yoan Cardinale being fit again, Nice coach Lucien Favre gave Benitez the starting nod in goal. Minutes after denying a well-struck free kick from Rodelin, Benitez saved Ivan Santini’s penalty kick in the 65th minute with a fine dive to his left.
Playing without the suspended Mario Balotelli, Nice failed to produce a second consecutive win after a six-match losing streak in all competitions and sits only two points above the danger zone, five points behind Caen.
The hosts dominated the first half and peppered the Nice box with crosses but failed to produce clear chances. Nice had the most dangerous moves and went ahead five minutes before the interval after Alassane Plea came close with a shot onto the right post. Pierre Lees-Melou, who looked offside in the build-up to the goal, netted from close range with a powerful strike after connecting with a deflected cross from Nampalys Mendy at the far post.
Caen had two good chances to level early in the second half but forward Herve Bazile missed the target after rounding Benitez, and Rodelin saw his fine free-kick pushed away by the goalkeeper in the 56th.
Caen had its best chance of the game in the 65th when Nice defender Christophe Jallet controlled the ball with his arm in the box, prompting referee Sebastien Desiage to point to the spot. But Caen striker Santini, who scored a penalty in the corresponding fixture last season, had his effort denied by Benitez.
Nice had two good chances in the final 10 minutes through Lees-Melou and Wesley Sneijder and was ultimately made to pay for its profligacy when Rodelin struck in stoppage time.
Seven-time champion Lyon was held to a 0-0 home draw by Montpellier the league’s best defensive team and failed to take advantage of Monaco’s slip at Amiens.
Montpellier has conceded just eight times in 13 league games one goal less than leader Paris Saint-Germain and put on a spirited collective display to deny Lyon a seventh consecutive win in all competitions.
Without the suspended Nabil Fekir, Lyon looked uninspired. In a game of few chances for both teams, Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte was decisive in the 33rd minute to keep his team afloat following a fine one-two between Maxwell Cornet and Tanguy Ndombele.
Lyon is third, three points behind second-place Monaco, which drew 1-1 at Amiens on Friday. PSG has a six-point lead over Monaco.