UEFA Europa League
Allianz Riviera, Nice, France
Nice’s Europa League campaign got off to a disappointing start after losing 1-0 to Schalke 04 in their opening Group I game at the Allianz Riviera in Nice.
A goal in the 75th minute from on-loan Chelsea full-back Baba Rahman gave the German side their first victory of the season since defeating Villingen in the DFB Pokal.
The visitors started well and went close in the 18th minute when Allesandro Schöpf reacted quickest to a loose ball and curled an effort just wide of the post.
Two minutes later, the visitors went close to taking the lead. Yoan Cardinale was called into action when Benedikt Höwedes teed up Leon Goretzka, who fired an effort that the keeper palmed away; Goretzka then seized the rebound and forced Cardinale into another fine save before Paul Baysse cleared the danger with Breel Embolo and Schöpf lurking dangerously.
The visitors had a good chance in the 58th minute when substitute Yevhen Konoplyanka’s corner was met by Naldo but his header was saved comfortably by Cardinale.
Five minutes later, the visitors went close when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting teed up Goretzka, whose side-footed effort was palmed away by Cardinale.
In the 72nd minute, Schalke went close again when Goretkza found substitute Max Meyer who turned his man and fired an effort that Cardinale was forced to palm away.
Three minutes later, the visitors took the lead. Meyer exchanged a nice one-two with Chelsea loanee Rahman, who fired home past Cardinale at his near-post.
A minute later, they went close to doubling their lead when Meyer cut-inside before firing an effort that rippled into the side-netting
In the 83rd minute, Nice went close to levelling the scores. The new revived Mario Balotelli surged forward and exchanged a nice one-two with Alassane Pléa, who found the Italian again, whose deflected effort was palmed away by Ralf Fährmann.
The German side should have sealed the victory in the 91st minute when Meyer cut-inside and fired a ferocious effort that Cardinale parried into the path of Choupo-Moting whose effort struck the inside of the post when he really should have scored.
The result meant that Schale 04 climbed up to the top of Group I on three points and are joined by Krasnodar who defeated Red Bull Salzburg. Nice remained bottom of the table behind Salzburg, who like the French side, begin the campaign without a point.