Pepe scores again, Mothiba opens Strasbourg account as Moses Simon makes his Ligue 1 mark

Nicolas Pepe NiceGetty Images
  • Pepe rescued point for Nice from the spot
  • Mothiba with maiden goal of the season
  • Simon continued to impress for Nantes

WHAT HAPPENED? Ivory Coast winger Pepe scored a stoppage-time penalty as Nice came from behind to draw 1-1 against Moses Simon’s Nantes while Mothiba began the fightback for Strasbourg who clawed back a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw away to Toulouse.

Cameroon forward Ignatius Ganago gave Nantes a 49th-minute lead and the visitors thought they had held on for their third win of the season but Jean-Charles Castelletto offered Nice a route back in when he handled the ball in the box. Pepe stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to rescue a point.

Elsewhere, Anthony Rouault and Brecht Dejaegere made it 2-0 for Toulouse after 55 minutes before Mothiba headed in Ronael Pierre-Gabriel’s cross to reduce the arrears 10 minutes later and Kevin Gameiro levelled matters in the 73rd minute to secure the draw.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was Pepe’s fourth goal of the season for struggling Nice and he has now surpassed last season’s tally when he scored three for his parent club Arsenal.

Pepe has been a mainstay in the team since moving to the Allianz Riviera on loan from Arsenal and he came close to making it two on Sunday as he hit the woodwork.

It is a second straight draw for Nice which leaves them 12th on the table with 13 points while Nantes, ninth-place finishers last season, are 15th two points behind.

Meanwhile, Bafana Bafana forward Mothiba was the top-rated player for Strasbourg despite playing just 30 minutes in what was his fourth game of the season, all as a substitute.

Having come on in the 60th minute, Mothiba only had four touches but utilised them well, managing one shot on target that resulted in the goal, making a case for him to play more regularly, having been handed a total of 52 minutes all season.

Strasbourg, however, remain in a relegation fight, lying 16th on the log with nine points, same as Brest and Auxerre and one ahead of Ajaccio and Angers, who are in the bottom two.

ALL EYES ON: Nigeria forward Moses Simon came into the game against Nice on the back of his goal in their 4-1 win over Brest last week and also left his mark on the match, having provided the assist for Ganago’s goal.

THE VERDICT: Simon is becoming Nantes main man as he has the highest goal-contribution for the Canaries this season, with his four goals and two assists.

WHAT’S NEXT? Nantes host Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday seeking to revive their slim chances while Strasbourg have a tough home tie against Marseille on Saturday.

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