OGC Nice guaranteed a top-three finish in Ligue 1 and remained firmly in the hunt for a first French title since 1959 when two second-half goals from the outstanding Jean Seri inspired them to come from behind to beat Nancy 3-1 at home on Saturday.
Seri converted a penalty after the break and then scored late on as Lucien Favre’s side up moved to 73 points in third place – 19 ahead of fourth-placed Olympique Lyonnais – ensuring they will play in the Champions League next season.
It will be the first time they have played in the European Cup since 1959-60 and the win puts them provisionally one point behind both leaders Monaco, who play Dijon later on Saturday, and second-placed Paris St Germain.
“The Champions League? Not yet,” Favre told journalists. “We still have to deal with the two preliminary rounds. That’s another story.”
Despite starting strongly, Nice’s defending let them down when Junior Dale capitalised on an error from Valentin Eysseric to open the scoring.
The home side were undeterred, equalising nine minutes later when Younes Belhanda’s magnificent through ball found Mickael Le Bihan, who span away from the defence and slotted home calmly past Guy N’Dy Assembe.
Injury-hit Nice went ahead in the 51st minute when the impressive Seri converted from the penalty spot after Dalbert was brought down and the Ivorian midfielder sealed the win in the 84th minute with a sharp finish after a swift counter-attack.