Balotelli propels Nice to the top in Ligue 1

By Adam Irons - 21/09/2016

Nice’s brilliant start to the season continued when Mario Balotelli struck another double as they sank Monaco 4-0 in the Azurean derby to go top of Ligue 1 on Wednesday.

The Italian striker, who scored twice on his debut earlier this month, found the back of the net either side of the interval after Paul Baysse’s opener.

Alassane Plea rounded off the scoring to put Nice on 14 points from six games.

Monaco suffered their first league defeat of the season and now lie third on 13 points, behind Paris St Germain on goal difference.

Champions PSG beat Dijon 3-0 on Tuesday.

Girondins de Bordeaux are fourth on 12 points after a 3-0 win at Metz on Wednesday while Olympique Lyonnais moved up to seventh on 10 points courtesy of a 5-1 hammering of 10-man Montpellier with Nabil Fekir and Corentin Tolisso scoring twice each.

At the Allianz Riviera, Nice took matters into their own hands and went ahead in the 18th minute when Baysse headed home from a free kick.

Balotelli, in only his second league appearance, doubled the lead from just inside the box just after half an hour with a low shot after being perfectly set up by Younes Belhanda.

The former Liverpool and AC Milan striker, who scored only one goal in Serie A last season, scored his fourth in two league games by tapping in from Ricardo Pereira’s cross in the 69th minute.

It got even worse for Monaco as Tiemoue Bakayoko was shown a straight red card for a foul in the box, but Plea’s penalty kick was parried away by Danijel Subasic.

Plea, however, quickly made amends by heading Nice’s fourth from Wylan Cyprien’s cross.

The result left Nice as the only undefeated team in Ligue 1 this season.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

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