Fri, Sep 25, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Ben Arfa doubles as OGC Nice hit Bordeaux for six

AFP, PARIS

OGC Nice’s Hatem ben Arfa, center, celebrates with teammates after their game against Girondins de Bordeaux at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Hatem ben Arfa inspired OGC Nice to a come-from-behind 6-1 victory over Girondins de Bordeaux on Wednesday, scoring twice in a performance that should help bury his recent tussles with red tape.

Jaroslav Plasil finished off a neat Bordeaux build-up on six minutes as the visitors looked firmly on top, but Nice soon pulled ahead thanks to Ben Arfa’s industry and imagination.

Goals from Valere Germain and then Mikael le Bihan, who tapped in a rebound from a long-range shot from Ben Arfa, had Nice 2-1 ahead at halftime.

From the restart, things got worse for Bordeaux with a red card for Enzo Crivelli after 50 minutes and then an own-goal by Nicolas Pallois a minute later.

Ben Arfa then crowned a magnificent personal performance with a brace of goals on 68 and 74 minutes, one a tap in after a lightning breakaway, the other a flashing shot after a mazy run.

The 28-year-old said after the game that Nice’s open style of play suited him.

“It’s down to teamwork, I get lots of space and freedom because of the way we move the ball ’round. We’re all happy and above-all me. It’s good to see us climbing up the table,” he told French daily L’Equipe.

Alexandre Mendy added a goal to make in 6-1 for Nice in the 84th minute.

Ben Arfa had been set to join Nice during the past winter break, but was caught up in an administrative mix-up before world body FIFA and the French soccer governing body stepped in to block the transfer. He had played a game with Newcastle United’s reserves during the summer of last year before being loaned to Hull City, meaning he was prevented from joining Nice due to a rule that a player can only play for two clubs in a single season.

Earlier this week, he lost his appeal against the ruling in which he had been trying to recover earnings he claims he was denied during the time he was sidelined.

AS Saint Etienne needed an own-goal in a 1-0 win against plucky newcomers ESTAC Troyes, which came when Thomas Ayase tried to keep up with onrushing striker Romain Hamouma only to turn the ball in to his own goal.

Christophe Galtier’s team came fifth last season, but are now sitting pretty in second, just a point behind Paris-Saint Germain.

In a bad-tempered late game, Olympique de Marseille substitute Michy Batshuayi scored a 90th-minute equalizer to earn a 1-1 draw against Toulouse after three men had been sent off.

Referee Antony Gautier first sent Marseille’s Benjamin Mendy packing, less than a minute after he had come on in the 75th minute, for pulling Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akproa down. Toulouse had already taken the lead after 67 minutes as Martin Braithwaite slotted home the opener in a frantic goalmouth scramble.

However, the game began to turn again when Toulouse’s Jacques Francois Moubandje was sent off on 83 minutes for a second bookable offense before teammate Steeve Yago was given a straight red for a kick on George Kevin Nkoudou just three minutes later.

In the confusion that followed, Marseille launched a massive assault, scoring the leveler and scorning a golden chance to clinch all three points when they fluffed a two-on-one.

Elsewhere, Olympique Lyonnais beat SC Bastia 2-0, Lorient beat Stade Malherbe Caen by the same score and tiny Gazalec Ajaccio of Corsica got their first home points in Ligue 1 with a 1-1 draw with Stade Rennais.

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