Good afternoon and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage from the Stade du Ray where Nice
host Montpellier HSC
in Ligue 1.
Saturday proved to be another fascinating day in the top tier of French football as PSG left it late against Guingamp, 10-man Bastia overcame Toulouse and Lyon's miserable recent form continued with another surprise defeat, this time to Evian.
Sunday promises to be another great day of French action, with Saint-Etienne beating Bordeaux 2-1 earlier today. Sports Mole will bring you live commentary from the huge clash between Marseille and AS Monaco later, but first we have this intriguing encounter between these two European hopefuls.
Claude Puel is desperate for Nice to get back to winning ways. Having finished fourth last year, Les Aiglons missed out on the chance of progressing to the Europa League group stages after losing 2-1 on aggregate to Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol. Nice will be eager to turn their fortunes around today.
Montpellier are looking ok. The 2012 champions' only defeat this campaign came at the hands of Monaco, but a draw with PSG and a last-gasp win over Sochaux has left them in a positive mood heading into this match.
Right, let's bring you the team news for this match.
NICE XI: Ospina, Palun, Genevois, Kolo, Amavi, Digard, Mendy, Bruls, Eysseric, Bautheac, Cvitanich
So Puel has made just once change to his Nice side from their last Ligue 1 outing as Kevin Gomis makes way for Lloyd Palun in the defence.
MONTPELLIER XI: Pionnier, Congre, Hilton, El Kaoutari, Tiene, Mezague, Stambouli, Cabella, Mounier, Camara, Montano
Jean Fernandez makes as many as four changes to the side that beat Sochaux last weekend. Mathieu Deplagne, Djamel Bakar, Jonas Martin and Joris Marveaux all drop out of the team, while Daniel Congre, Remy Cabella, Anthony Mounier and Abdelhamid El Kaoutari all come in.
This match also marks the final game for Nice at the Stade du Ray before they move into their new home of the Allianz Riviera.
The two sides are out here at the Stade du Ray. Nice are wearing their red and black striped shirts with black shorts and socks, while Montpellier are sporting their away kit of white shirts, orange shorts and white socks.
Many a flair has gone off inside the stadium, and you can hardly see the pith at the moment.
KICKOFF! Nice get the game underway.
Nearly an early change for Nice as Bruls crosses the ball in towards Eysseric, but he is marked too tightly by Hilton to get a clean shot away and it goes behind for a goal kick.
Montpellier will be looking for some inspiration from creative midfielder Remy Cabella who is back in the side following an injury a last week that meant he came on as a substitute against Sochaux.
There's a great atmosphere at the Stade du Ray, as you would expect with it being the final match here.
Nice have half a penalty shot as Eysseric and Bruls combine down the right before putting a troubling cross to the edge of the box. Cvitanich goes down under pressure from El Kaoutari, but nothing is given.
Going back to the penalty shout, it would have been very very harsh on Montpellier for that to have been given.
Montpellier are playing from right to left in this first half, and haven't really ventured forward yet.
It's just as well that Nice are leaving the Stade du Ray as this pitch looks battered already, and the season has only just started. Patches of damaged, orange grass everywhere.
CLOSE! Nearly a worldie from Camara. Montpellier bring the play in from the and give the ball to Cabella. He helps it further inside to Camara, who touches the ball to his left with his right boot before firing and effort towards the top corner on his other peg. The shot is just wide of the top corner.
Fairly even start so far at the Stade du Ray, this looks as if it is going to be a very good game.
CHANCE! Nice nearly find a way through after Bruls curls a fantastic pass from the right into the path of the rushing Cvitanich. However, he stops in the box and appeals to the referee after a seemingly high foot from El Kaoutari. Nothing given, and the game goes on.
GOAL! Nice 1-0 Montpellier HSC (Timothee Kolodziejczak)
Breakthrough for Nice who whip in a lovely corner from the right to the near post. Kolodziejczak does ever so well to lose his marker and help it on with his head on the near side of the six-yard box. Great nod, 1-0 Nice.
Montpellier's response to going behind has been decent as Mounier wins them a corner. However it is cleared away at the far post by the hosts.
CHANCE! Cross comes in from Bautheac on the left which sails over Cvitanich and towards Bruls. The winger gets his head to it and tries to nod it back across goal, but can't keep it down.
The atmosphere is wild at the Stade du Ray. The Nice fans are loving life at the moment.
However, it's not just the Nice fans. Montpellier supporters are in fine voice and waving their flags like lunatics behind one of the goals. The action on the field has quietened down in recent moments.
Bruls has made a really good start to this game and is causing Tiene all sorts of problems on the near side. He shows some nice skill before whipping a dangerous ball into the box from the right. Could be a real problem for Montpellier this afternoon.
Nice have probably been the better side so far, and deserve their lead. They've been more clinical when it has come to creating chances.
GOAL! Nice 1-1 Montpellier HSC (Souleymane Camara)
What was I saying? Montpellier level the match up after a horrible moment for the young left-back Amavi. Mounier floats a ball from just over the halfway line towards the edge of the box, where it hits the back of Amavi and drops into the path of Camara who smashes the ball into the bottom corner with a fine finish. Game on.
Such a horrible moment for the 19-year-old Amavi, but Camara punished him well. The top division is an unforgiving one.
YELLOW CARD Mounier goes into the book for Montpellier.
CHANCE! Nice almost immediately retake the lead through Bruls. Cvitanich does well to dribble through a number of Montpellier defenders before squaring the ball to the right side of the box. Bruls meets the pass by striking across the ball, but his shot smashes into the side-netting at the near post.
Montpellier loft in a corner from the right, but it is easily dealt with by the Nice defence.
GOAL! Nice 2-1 Montpellier HSC (Valentin Eysseric)
Nice are back in front and it's a fine goal from Eysseric. He picks the ball up on the right before skinning El Kaoutari to come inside before smashing a low shot with his left boot into the near bottom corner pass Pionnier. Lovely strike.
We will have two extra minutes at the end of this first half.
That goal is what Nice deserve. Their first-half performance warrants them being ahead at the break.
HALF TIME: Nice 2-1 Montpellier HSC
Well that brings an end to a very entertaining first half at the Stade du Ray. Kolodziejczak and Eysseric have given Nice the lead while Camara had equalised for Montpellier. However, Nice are deservedly in front.
Let's bring you some half-time stats.
On target 3
On target 2
Montpellier are back out on the field ready for the second half. Nice seem to be waiting in the tunnel. Presumably for the whole team to go out together.
MONTPELLIER CHANGE Mounier has been replaced at the break by Djamel Bakar.
KICKOFF! Montpellier get the second half underway.
Quiet start to this second half. Both sides have ventured forward, but no chances as of yet.
YELLOW CARD Montpellier nearly find their way through after Cabella runs onto a long ball before being clattered by the defence. The same happens to Montano, who chased the follow up. Jordan Amavi goes into the book for his challenge. Free kick on the edge of the box to the visitors.
Great chance here for Montpellier. This free kick is dead central and right on the edge of the D.
GOAL! Nice 2-2 Montpellier HSC (Siaka Tiene)
What a beautiful strike from Tiene. He steps up and curls it over the wall with his left foot and the ball lands wonderfully in the corner. Montpellier are level again.
There's been a break in play here as Camara is down receiving some medical attention. He limps off the field, and we will have to wait to see if he returns.
YELLOW CARD Valentin Eysseric goes into the book for chopping down Montano from behind.
YELLOW CARD Now Remy Cabella goes into the book for twice having a go at Mendy, and then giving the referee a mouthful once penalised.
The game is getting a tad feistier now. Fair few more yellow cards have been shown.
Cvitanich takes a nasty whack to the face from Congre after chasing down the ball. Completely accidental, but I'm sure that won't make the striker feel much better.
Nice are edging the match currently, but not much has been created in the way of chances since the Montpellier equaliser.
NICE CHANGE Jeremy Pied has come on in place of Christian Bruls.
MONTPELLIER CHANGE Emanuel Herrera is on for Victor Hugo Montano.
Tiene lines up another free kick from the right for the visitors, but he can't get enough power on it to float it into the box, and Nice can clear.
YELLOW CARDS Bakar goes into the book for a late challenge on Pied. Free kick for Nice on the right. Stambouli is then also shown a yellow for dissent. Six yellows in this match now.
CHANCE! The free kick is whipped in and Kolodziejczak goes for it at the far post, but his header is over.
Play has stopped temporarily for a water break.
Back underway here, and still no sign of a good chance.
NICE CHANGE Mendy makes way for Fabrice Abriel.
YELLOW CARD We've certainly not had a shortage of bookings in this half, and Cvitanich is the latest after clipping Tiene.
NICE CHANGE Valentine Eysseric is taken off in what is his side's final change, with Alexy Bosetti making his way onto the field.
Cabella is now down after being caught by Pied. Not sure actually how much he is hurt, but he is having treatment currently.
RED CARD! Djamel Bakar is sent off after a late challenge on Abriel. Can Montpellier hang on with 10 men? They six minutes of normal time to go.
MONTPELLIER CHANGE Camara is replaced by Yassine Jabbour.
Bakar will now face a one-game ban having been sent off for two yellow cards. He only came on at half time as well.
Can Niec take advantage of their extra man and go in front for a third time? Would be some ending to their time at the Stade du Ray.
CLOSE! Cvitanich is troubling again for Nice, and rises above Kolodziejczak to head the ball over the bar after a cross from the right.
We are going to have SIX minutes of added time here, presumably for all the injuries and cards.
Looks as if this match is going to finish as a draw. You can barely see the players at the moment due to the flairs from the crowd.
FULL TIME: Nice 2-2 Montpellier HSC
So that's that for the Stade du Ray, and an entertaining match finishes all square.
On target 4
On target 3
Make sure you stick with Sports Mole later this evening for live coverage of Marseille vs. AS Monaco with me.
Until then, goodbye.