Nantes pays final tribute to Sala, Monaco held

Nantes supporters gather to pay tribute to late Argentinian forward Emiliano Sala prior to the French L1 football match between FC Nantes and Nimes Olympique at the La Beaujoire Stadium in Nantes. Nantes FC announced that it will freeze the No. 9 jersey as a tribute to Cardiff City and former Nantes footballer Emiliano Sala who died in a plane crash in the English Channel on January 21, 2019. — AFP

PARIS — Nantes paid a final tribute to former striker Emiliano Sala in a 4-2 home defeat against Nimes in Ligue 1 Sunday, three days after the Argentine was confirmed dead in a plane crash.

Sala, 28, had been flying from Nantes in western France to Wales on Jan. 21 to make his debut for Premier League team Cardiff City when the single-engined Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared over the sea.

There was a minute of applause before kickoff and a representative from Cardiff City came to La Beaujoire Stadium to hand the French club a shirt from the Welsh side.

La Beaujoire was at capacity after tickets were sold for nine euros ($10.20) in reference to Sala's shirt number.

Fans also chanted a song in memory of Sala in the ninth minute of the game.

Nantes took control of the match in the first half, opening a two-goal lead after a goal by Kalifa Coulibaly and a Majeed Waris penalty. However, Nimes fought back after the break and prevailed thanks to goals by Baptiste Guillaume, Antonin Bobichon, Jordan Ferri and Sada Tihoub.

The result left the Canaries in 15th place with 24 points from 23 matches, five points above the relegation zone.

Elsewhere, Monaco thought it was snatching its second win in two league games under returning coach Leonardo Jardim, but Andy Delort's stoppage-time penalty salvaged a 2-2 home draw for Montpellier at home.

Gaetan Laborde had canceled out Gelson Martins's opener before Radamel Falcao had put the visitors ahead from close range in the 85th minute.

Monaco is 18th on 19 points. — Reuters