Patrick Vieira

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Henry’s Monaco draws 1-1 with Vieira’s Nice in French league

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PARIS (AP) Old friends Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira had to split the points as Monaco drew 1-1 with French Riviera rival Nice on Wednesday in a scrappy match featuring three video reviews.

Winger Allan Saint-Maximin put Nice ahead in the 30th minute and 17-year-old defender Benoit Badiashile equalized shortly after halftime, becoming the youngest scorer in the French top flight this season. Badiashile’s header from a corner was deemed to have crossed the line by the use of goal-line technology.

[MORE: Ligue 1 scores, schedule]

Henry and Vieira are in their first seasons coaching in France, but they go way back and hugged warmly before kickoff.

Living next to each other in London, they blossomed with Arsenal and were part of the famed “Invincibles” side which went a whole season unbeaten in the Premier League. The Frenchmen also won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship in 2000, as well as playing together in the 2006 World Cup final.

Having started their illustrious careers as teenagers on the French Riviera – Henry with Monaco and Vieira with Cannes – they have come full circle as coaches.

Monaco had chances through Aleksandr Golovin and Rony Lopes, only for Nice to strike against the run of play following a sloppy mistake from Youssef Ait Bennasser. After he gave the ball away in midfield, Saint-Maximin took it off him easily and shrugged off defender Jemerson before shooting confidently past goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

The goal was awarded before being checked and confirmed by referee Benoit Bastien using VAR. Moments before the interval, he consulted VAR again to send off Nice striker Ihsan Sacko for a late challenge on defender Benjamin Heinrichs.

“There’s a lot of frustration and questions about the decisions. The red card is very harsh,” Vieira said. “It wasn’t a dangerous action and it had a negative impact on us.”

Bastien used VAR for the third time to award a penalty in the 75th, ruling that Badiashile impeded right back Youcef Atal when images suggested Atal initiated contact with Badiashile before tumbling down.

Benaglio guessed correctly to keep out Saint-Maximim’s spot kick. Monaco almost won it near the end when Radamel Falcao hit the post with a curling effort.

“A point isn’t enough for us, but we could have been sat here talking about a defeat,” Henry said. “I have no opinion about the VAR, those are their decisions. Diego saved the penalty – so much the better for us.”

Monaco has not won at home this season and is 19th – only one point ahead of last-place Guingamp, which beat Rennes 2-1 at home.

OTHER MATCHES

VAR also played a key role elsewhere as Saint-Etienne equalized with a penalty in a 2-1 home win against Marseille.

Referee Antony Gautier awarded the penalty in the 56th after goalkeeper Steve Mandanda upended forward Wahbi Khazri.

Gautier then changed his mind after the linesman signaled Khazri was offside when receiving the pass, but further confusion ensued as he then consulted VAR and re-awarded the penalty, which was confidently tucked away by Khazri.

There was no debating Khazri’s late winner, struck ferociously from 20 meters past Mandanda. It was his 12th league goal of the season and leapfrogged Saint-Etienne over Lyon into third place ahead of their local derby on Sunday.

Netherlands midfielder Kevin Strootman headed Marseille ahead early on from Florian Thauvin‘s excellent cross. The defeat increases the pressure on ninth-place Marseille and its coach Rudi Garcia after a string of poor performances have left fans disgruntled and angry.

In other matches, forwards Moussa Dembele and Nabil Fekir netted late on as Lyon rallied to draw 2-2 at Toulouse.

Nimes moved into 11th spot after winning 1-0 at home to Nantes.

Nice weekend for Vieira’s Nice, Henry’s Monaco

Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP
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PSG is running away with Ligue 1, but MLS and Arsenal fans have had a couple of reasons to follow the French top flight this season.

Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira are in their first European managerial adventures, and both have had good weekends.

[ MORE: Arsenal tops Bournemouth ]

That’s been a rarity in the case of Henry, who took over a shockingly under-performing AS Monaco and oversaw just two draws in his first six matches.

On Saturday at Caen, a Radamel Falcao free kick was enough to get Henry that first win. Monaco is now two points back of safety, in 19th place.

Vieira’s run with Nice started slow but has picked up serious steam, and his men are within four points back of second place Lyon.

Nice got goals from Wylan Cyprien and Allan Saint-Maximin in a 2-0 win over Lille, stretching the club’s winning run to five matches. Four of those matches have come in the league, and all are clean sheets.

Both Henry and Vieira have been unafraid to speak their minds, with the latter calling out Mario Balotelli a couple of weeks ago.

Their sides meet Dec. 7 in Monaco.

PSG has a 15-point lead on second, and is 14-0-0 on the season. They have that going for them, which is nice.

Report: Thierry Henry begins talks with Bordeaux

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Thierry Henry versus Patrick Vieira has the connotations of an Arsenal reunion match or Hudson River Derby fight, but the pair of French superstars may be matching tactical wits in Ligue 1 soon.

Sky Sports says that former New York Red Bulls star and Arsenal legend Henry has opened talks with Bordeaux about their manager’s spot.

[ WATCH: Lichaj assists for Hull ]

Vieira was hired away from New York City FC by OGC Nice earlier this summer, whileHenry was assisting Roberto Martinez in leading Belgium to a third place finish at the World Cup.

Bordeaux is 0-2 after two matches of the Ligue 1 season, while Nice is 0-1-1.

For those wondering, the two sides meet on Oct. 27 at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux.

Which manager do you back for more success in the short- and long-term?

Ligue 1: Falcao paces Monaco; Vieira loses on Nice debut

Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP
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PARIS (AP) Radamel Falcao came off the bench to score and set up another goal as Monaco opened its French league campaign with a 3-1 win at Nantes on Saturday.

A dull match quickly improved when Falcao came on midway through the second half. The veteran Colombia striker immediately started combining well with Montenegro forward Stevan Jovetic, who set up a headed goal for attacking midfielder Rony Lopes with a deflected cross in the 69th minute.

With 10 minutes left, Falcao gathered a high ball near halfway and intelligently flicked the ball over his head into the path of Jovetic, who scored with a cool finish.

Three minutes later, Falcao was celebrating after tapping in Samuel Grandsir’s low cross from the right, after Grandsir was freed by Jovetic’s measured pass inside the penalty area.

“Falcao is an important player for us, it’s easier when you have players of his quality,” Lopes said. “We didn’t play well in the first half.”

Nantes salvaged some pride through striker Emiliano Sala’s goal in the second minute of injury time.

In Friday’s season-opening match, attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille beat Toulouse 4-0.


Patrick Vieira’s first match in charge of Nice ended in a 1-0 home defeat to Reims.

The former France and Arsenal midfielder was not helped by the fact he had no recognized striker, with Mario Balotelli – last season’s top scorer – suspended and Alassane Plea sold during the offseason.

That left Vieira with midfielder Bassem Srarfi as a makeshift forward – and the Tunisia international was ineffective.

Midfield counterpart Moussa Doumbia scored for Reims after just three minutes.

Torrent replaces Vieira as NYCFC boss

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Domenec Torrent has been appointed as the new manager of Major League Soccer side New York City FC after Patrick Vieira’s move to Nice in Ligue 1 was announced officially on Monday.

A hire from within the City Football Group (CFG) once again is no surprise.

[ MORE: Vieira leaves NYCFC for Nice

Torrent, 55, will leave his role as Manchester City’s assistant manager as the Spanish coach has worked under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Man City, winning 24 trophies along the way. He was previously the head coach of Girona.

Speaking about his appointment as just the third head coach in NYCFC’s history, Torrent is delighted to be the main man at CFG’s club in NYC.

“Though I have enjoyed a wonderful 11 years working alongside my colleague and close friend Pep Guardiola – it has always been my ambition to manage a team again and I really couldn’t have hoped for a better opportunity than at this football club” Torrent said. “I know we have a very talented team, I have watched many of the matches and I enjoy the way the team plays and I now can’t wait to begin working with the players on the training pitch.”

“Though I have been fortunate enough to visit New York on numerous occasions, I am looking forward to living and coaching in this special city and meeting the fans as soon as possible. I am eager to experience and play a part in the soccer culture of New York.”

NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said that hailed Torrent for being “part of building some of the most memorable teams in soccer” and added that he’s excited to see the Spanish coach “continue to give opportunities to our younger players.”

So, NYCFC have moved on quickly from Vieira and, in truth, they needed to given the fantastic job he did during two-and-a-half years in charge at Yankee Stadium.

During that time Vieira turned New York City FC into genuine contenders for the Eastern Conference title and led them to back-to-back appearances in the MLS Cup playoffs after they missed out on the postseason during their inaugural season in 2015.

Torrent’s first game in charge will be at home against reigning MLS champs Toronto on Jun. 24 as NYCFC aim to keep the heat up on Atlanta United in the race for the Eastern Conference title.

NYCFC sit just two points behind Atlanta and they’re in second place in the East as they seek a third-straight postseason berth.

Vieira’s legacy will live on and Torrent’s time to become the main man has arrived.