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PARIS, March 18 (Reuters) - Injury-hit Nice were held to a 1-1 draw at mid-table Nantes on Saturday with Jean Michael Seri cancelling out Emiliano Sala's opener to earn the visitors a point as their hopes of a first Ligue 1 title since 1959 were dented.
The draw moves third-placed Nice on to 64 points, one behind Paris St Germain and four behind leaders AS Monaco ahead of their games at home to Olympique Lyonnais and at Caen respectively on Sunday.
Sala crowned an intense opening spell for Nantes when he beat keeper Yoan Cardinale in the 22nd minute, after being picked out by Jules Iloki, for his fourth goal in his last five matches.
However, surprise package Nice, without key players Alassane Plea, Wylan Cyprien and captain Paul Baysse due to injury, responded six minutes later when Seri netted with a delightful strike from the edge of the box.
Nice saw a lot of the ball after the break but were unable to make the most of their dominance, with Italian frontman Mario Balotelli needlessly distracted by a tit-for-tat battle with Nantes' Diego Carlos.
Nantes remain in 10th place on 38 points. (Reporting by Ed Dove; Editing by Ken Ferris)