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2016/17 French Ligue 1, Regular Season
  • Paul Baysse (17')
  • Mario Balotelli (30', 68')
  • Alassane Pléa (85')
  • Tiemoué Bakayoko (83')

Mario Balotelli brace helps Nice beat Monaco and top table

Mario Balotelli scored his second Ligue 1 brace in as many games as Nice went top of the table with an impressive 4-0 win against early frontrunners Monaco.

Having notched a double on his debut in a 3-2 win against Marseille, the often-maligned Italy international took his tally for the season to four with goals either side of the break as Nice remained the only unbeaten team in the league.

Paul Baysse's 17th-minute opener had set the hosts on their way to inflicting a first defeat of the season on the principality side before Alassane Plea rounded off a successful evening for Les Aiglons late on.

Looking to claim back top spot, Monaco made all the early running as Fabinho went close in the ninth minute with a header from Djibril Sidibe's cross that troubled Yoan Cardinale in the hosts' goal.

And Kamil Glik looked to test Cardinale again moments later, but the Poland international's header from Thomas Lemar's delivery failed to test the former youth-team keeper.

Shortly afterwards Balotelli had his first opportunity but Monaco's Danijel Subasic got a firm hand to the former Liverpool striker's decent first-time effort from Wylan Cyprien's delivery.

Nice drew first blood in the 17th minute. Against the run of play, Jean Michael Seri's accurate free kick picked out an unmarked Baysse six yards out and he headed beyond Subasic with the aid of the crossbar.

Monaco appeared stunned and the hosts looked to take full advantage as Cyprien flashed an effort just wide of the target before Balotelli added a second for Nice.

The impressive Younes Belhanda released the Italian on goal with a superb pass and Balotelli showed exactly what he is capable of, controlling well and flashing an effort beyond Subasic.

Monaco failed to offer a response before the break and Nice could easily have added a third just before the interval.

Once again some intricate play from Belhanda split the visitors' defence but this time Balotelli's effort was kept out by a magnificent Subasic reflex stop.

Leonardo Jardim threw on Valere Germain and Guido Carrillo as replacements for Radamel Falcao and Joao Moutinho for the start of the second half, the former having been involved in a sickening collision with Cardinale just before the interval.

Monaco almost grabbed a lifeline when Glik pushed Lemar's corner towards Germain but his touch was cleared off the line by Seri on the hour mark.

The Monegasque side continued to press and Cardinale had to be at his very best to keep out Andrea Raggi's header after Bernardo Silva's inviting delivery found the Italian at the back post.

Jardim's side's efforts proved to be in vain, though, as Nice all but wrapped up the points with 68 minutes played.

Ricardo Pereira and Cyprien linked up well before the latter picked out an unmarked Balotelli inside the area, and he needed no second invitation for his second of the game with a simple finish.

And a miserable evening for the hosts turned into a nightmare when Tiemoue Bakayoko was given a straight red for hauling down Valentin Eyserric inside the area.

Plea took charge of the resulting spot-kick and, despite seeing it saved by Subasic, he added a fourth Nice goal just a couple of minutes later, heading Cyprian's pinpoint delivery beyond the Monaco keeper.