Balotelli on target then sent off as Nice win

Ligue 1 Conforama > Match Reports

Mario Balotelli was OGC Nice's matchwinner before he was sent off late on in an incident-filled 1-0 defeat of Dijon FCO on Sunday as the hosts snapped a four-game losing streak.

 OGC Nice 1-0 Dijon FCO 

After such a dramatically bad run of form by their standards, Nice needed a good start, and they looked like they might get one.

Maxime Le Marchand, whose unfortunate late own-goal had decided Thursday's UEFA Europa League trip to Lazio in the Italian hosts' favour, struck the underside of the crossbar when he had seemed destined to score. The raised offside flag saved the centre-back's blushes (2').

Baptiste Reynet almost allowed a Vincent Koziello cross to squirm away from him and over the line with Balotelli in close attendance (7') before producing a very solid save from Christophe Jallet's stinging half-volley (20') after the full-back, called up for France's upcoming friendlies with Wales and Germany, had been picked out brilliantly by Rémi Walter.

The Dijon 'keeper was beaten before the break though by Balotelli. When Jordan Marié had wrestled Alassane Pléa to the ground, Balotelli patiently bided his time before slotting beyond Reynet for his sixth goal of the league campaign in only his eighth appearance (40').

Balotelli off

Balotelli twice tested Reynet early in the second half (58', 62'), the second a free-kick from a tight angle that had the Dijon number one scrambling desperately across his goal to keep out.

Frédéric Sammaritano would certainly have equalised had he steered his low shot inside rather than outside the post (67') as Dijon sought to take advantage of their hosts' fragile self-confidence, though Balotelli — but for a Papy Djilobodji block — could equally have doubled Nice's lead (78').

Instead, he was forced to watch Nice play out the closing minutes from the dressing-room after referee Olivier Thual had dismissed him for a challenge on Cédric Yambéré (89').

THE PLAYER: Mario Balotelli
Brilliant in bursts once again, the former Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool forward continues to live up to his billing as one of the most exciting forwards in world football in every sense. As cool as ever with his penalty — his third successful spot-kick of the season — Balotelli remains a bona fide matchwinner.

Balotelli, who scored both of Nice's goals in their 2-1 home win over Dijon last season, has now scored three of his club's last four league goals against the Burgundy outfit.

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