PARIS — Ivory Coast forward Jeremie Boga scored the winner as Nice beat Reims 2-1 to take back second place in the French league on Sunday.
Boga picked his spot from 18 yards to unleash a low strike that Reims goalkeeper Yehvann Diouf palmed into his own net in the 82nd minute.
Nice is known for patiently probing for an opening by swapping passes in its own half. But goalkeeper Marcin Bulka diverted from the script with a long punt in the 55th. The Reims defense cleared the ball into the path of Gaetan Laborde, who drove forward to open the scoring for Nice with a shot off the underside of the bar.
Reims captain Yunis Abdelhamid met a cross from Junya Ito to equalize with a downward header in the 78th. Ito also hit the woodwork with an effort in the 67th.
“I think we were a bit too excited sometimes,” Nice center back Dante told Amazon Prime Video. “We will have to correct that for the next games so that we can have more control.”
Nice has built its success on a solid defense this season, the stingiest in Europe’s top five leagues, conceding only six goals in 15 league games.
Nice moved two points clear of Monaco while Reims dropped to eighth place.
AUBAMEYANG STAYS HOT
Ten-man Marseille earned its first league win on the road this season by beating Lorient 4-2 to move into sixth place, two points behind Brest.
Chancel Mbemba gave Marseille the lead in the third minute by pouncing on a loose ball to score from close range.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued his hot run of form by netting in his fourth straight game in all competitions, heading a cross from Mbemba into the bottom corner in the ninth minute.
Marseille defender Leonardo Balerdi made it 3-0 with a header off a corner in the 33rd. Lorient winger Romain Faivre pulled one back with a half-volley in the 41st.
But Aubameyang helped Marseille reach halftime with a three-goal lead by beating goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo after a counterattack in the 42nd.
Marseille’s intensity dropped in the second half. Former Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy scored his first goal for Lorient by firing home from a tight angle in the 52nd.
Marseille finished the game with 10 men after defender Jonathan Clauss was sent off for a high boot on Darlin Yongwa in the 80th.
“We mustn’t content ourselves with a good half and put ourselves in danger,” Marseille midfielder Jordan Veretout said. “At 4-3, it would have been wild until the end. And we wouldn’t have been safe from conceding a draw.”
LACAZETTE HAT TRICK
Lille stayed fourth by stretching its unbeaten run to nine games in the league but lost ground in the race for automatic Champions League spots by drawing with Clermont 0-0.
Brest edged Metz 1-0 with a goal from substitute Jeremy Le Douaron in the 75th to climb to fifth place, two points behind Lille.
Alexandre Lacazette notched three poacher’s goals to snap a six-game scoring drought as bottom side Lyon thrashed Toulouse 3-0.
Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes kept a clean sheet by saving Toulouse striker Thijs Dallinga's penalty on the stroke of halftime.
It was the first win for Lyon caretaker Pierre Sage who replaced coach Fabio Grosso on Nov. 30.
Abakar Sylla headed home a corner in the last second of stoppage time as Strasbourg snatched a 2-1 win over Le Havre. Dutch striker Emanuel Emegha notched his third goal in the last four games to put Strasbourg ahead in the 21st before Le Havre center back Yoann Salmier leveled by volleying home a free kick in the 49th.
Strasbourg leapfrogged Le Havre into 10th place, five points above the relegation playoff spot.
On Saturday, Paris Saint-Germain beat Nantes 2-1 to win an eighth straight game in the league and keep a four-point lead over Nice.