Nice had Mario Balotelli and Younes Belhanda shown contentious straight red cards as they saw their Ligue 1 lead cut to two points after a 0-0 draw away at Bordeaux.
Lucien Favre's side dominated possession at the Matmut Atlantique but struggled to create chances, with second-placed Monaco closing the gap courtesy of a 2-1 win over Caen.
Balotelli was sent off for a kick on Igor Lewczuk in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, though replays suggested the defender's reaction was exaggerated.
As Bordeaux pushed for a winner tempers flared, and Francois Kamano's theatrical reaction to a kick on the back of the leg from Belhanda sparked a confrontation between the two sets of players that ended with the Nice man heading down the tunnel prematurely.
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