2016/17 French Ligue 1, Regular Season
  • Ricardo Pereira (11')
  • Mario Balotelli (86')
  • Mario Balotelli (90'+2')
  • Benjamin Moukandjo (61')

Mario Balotelli nets winner for Nice right before being sent off

Mario Balotelli scored a late winner before being sent off as Nice maintained their lead at the top of Ligue 1 with 2-1 victory against Lorient.

Ricardo Pereira had handed the hosts a first-half lead with his first goal for the club.

Benjamin Moukandjo struck just after the hour mark to level but Balotelli's 85th-minute strike secured all three points for Nice before he was sent off for a second yellow card.

The home crowd did not have to wait long for the opener when Mathieu Bodmer's long ball found Pereira and he danced past two defenders before firing beyond Benjamin Lecomte.

Lorient responded well, though, and Jimmy Cabot almost benefited from some lapse Nice play only to fail to find the target after closing down on goal.

Balotelli should have doubled Nice's lead early in the second half but he failed to test Lecomte with a close-range header after Younes Belhanda picked him out.

That miss proved costly too when, with 61 minutes on the clock, Moukandjo escaped the attentions of the Nice defence to latch onto Mohamed Mara's pass before firing beyond Yoan Cardinale.

In-form Balotelli would have the final say, however, and the former Liverpool striker secured all three points with less than five minutes to play, clinically firing beyond Lecomte after going past Steven Moreira inside the area.

That was Balotelli's sixth goal for his new club but the night ended on a sour note for the Italy striker, though, when he was sent off in the final seconds after being shown two yellow cards in a matter of minutes.