Sep 13, 2016

    Balotelli instant hit with brace on Nice debut


    FORMER Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli struck twice on his Nice debut to help his new side defeat Mediterranean rivals Marseille 3-2 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

    Balotelli, signed on a free transfer after being allowed to leave Anfield, converted a seventh-minute penalty to open the scoring at the Allianz Riviera and struck again to level 12 minutes from time.

    Florian Thauvin had equalised for Marseille and Bafetimbi Gomis' 72nd-minute spot-kick then put the visitors ahead.

    Balotelli's second of the game set up a thrilling finale with Wylan Cyprien's long-range shot bursting through the hands of Yohann Pele.

    "Two goals, it's a good first match, he hasn't needed any time to adapt," said Nice captain Paul Baysse of Balotelli, as the hosts moved level on points with Monaco at the top.

    Nice coach Lucien Favre added: "His last match was several months ago. Tonight, he gave us 90 minutes although we had planned to take him off at some stage.

    "It's just one match, he still has a lot of work to do and he knows that."