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Nice stalemate gives Monaco chance to go top

Monaco can go top of Ligue 1 by beating Marseille after leaders Nice were held to a goalless draw by struggling Metz on Sunday.

Nice were without striker Mario Balotelli for the second consecutive game due to suspension, with his absence proving key as they were beaten 2-1 by Lorient in the Coupe de France last weekend.

And Lucien Favre's men again found life difficult without Balotelli, failing to break down a Metz side without a league win since November.

The hosts laboured for long periods in their search for an opener, and Nice ran out of steam in the second half, though Alassane Plea went close when he fired narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

Metz could have even stolen maximum points themselves, enjoying a succession of corners in the closing stages.

But Ligue 1's third-bottom club seemed content to settle for a point, the draw leaving Nice just three points clear of Monaco - who boast a superior goal difference and visit the Stade Velodrome later on Sunday - and defending champions Paris Saint-Germain.