PARIS -- — Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel saved a penalty as Nice earned a goalless home draw against Reims in the French league on Saturday.
An intense matchup of in-form teams in the French Riviera city finished with Nice unable to post a fifth consecutive win and Reims unbeaten in 16 straight games.
Nice remained in seventh place, four points above Reims.
The host dominated the first half but created only half-chances as Reims defended well. Neither managed a single shot on target. Reims was the better team after the interval and Schmeichel had to stop an effort from the spot from league top scorer Florian Balogun to produce a clean sheet.
Balogun, who has 15 goals, had the Champagne club's first chance in the second half but his left-foot shot from the edge of the box was blocked.
He provoked a penalty in the 53rd minute after dribbling past Jean-Clair Todibo, who brought him down in the box. But Balogun was denied by Schmeichel. The forward tried again from the rebound but fluffed his shot as teammate Myziane Maolida also rushed toward the ball and both men got in the way.
Reims could have snatched the lead 10 minutes from time as Mitchell van Bergen rose above his defender to connect with a cross but missed the target, with Schmeichel looking beaten.
Strasbourg played Angers late.
Leader Paris Saint-Germain hosts Lille on Sunday, with second-placed Marseille traveling to Toulouse.
- Marc Bollengier