LIGUE 1

Balotelli grabs winner for Nice - then sees red

Mario Balotelli took his side into top spot in Ligue 1 with a late strike against Lorient, but then got himself sent off in stoppage time.

Balotelli grabs winner for Nice - then sees red
VALERY HACHE AFP

Mario Balotelli delivered a trademark performance on Sunday as he scored to give Nice a 2-1 home win over Lorient that put them top of Ligue 1, before being sent off in time added on.

Fifth league goal for 'Super Mario'

The Italian striker netted his fifth goal in three league appearances, firing the ball in four minutes from time after Lorient's Benjamin Moukandjo had cancelled out Ricardo Pereria's early opener.

Balotelli, who joined from Liverpool on a free transfer during the close season, was then sent off two minutes into stoppage time for picking up a second yellow card - having earned his first booking when celebrating his goal.

Balotelli (right) celebrates after scoring Nice's winner - he was subsequently booked for taking his shirt off.

Nice started brightly and converted their first opportunity after 11 minutes, Pereira finding the back of the net with a low shot after being set up by Mathieu Bodmer.

The visitors threatened through Jimmy Cabot but keeper Yoan Cardinale stayed alert, before Moukandjo levelled in the 61st minute with a chip after collecting Mohamed Mara's through ball.

Sent off after decisive late effort

Balotelli unleashed a fine shot from the edge of the box into the opposite top corner shortly before being sent to the dressing room following a brief scuffle with Steven Moreira.

Nice have 20 points from eight games and lead neighbours Monaco, who demolished Metz 7-0 on Saturday, by one point.

PSG win, Marseille held

French champions Paris Saint-Germain, who beat Girondins de Bordeaux 2-0 on Saturday, are third on 16 points.

In their 2,368th game in the top flight - tying Sochaux's record - Olympique de Marseille were held to a 1-1 draw at Angers as Pierrick Capelle cancelled out Florian Thauvin's opener in stoppage time. OM are 14th on nine points.

Later on Sunday, Olympique Lyonnais take on St Etienne in France's fiercest derby.