Mario Balotelli double puts Nice seven points clear of PSG

Balotelli double puts Nice seven points clear of PSG
By Eurosport

18/12/2016 at 20:07Updated 19/12/2016 at 00:49

Mario Balotelli struck twice as Ligue 1 leaders Nice won 2-1 at home to Dijon on Sunday to widen the gap to French champions Paris St Germain.

The Italian striker, who now has eight goals from as many league appearances, found the back of the net in each half, either side of Julio Tavares's equaliser for the visitors.

Dijon finished with 10 men after captain Cedric Varrault picked up two yellow cards in quick succession two minutes from time.

The result put Nice on 43 points from 18 games, seven points ahead of third-placed Paris St Germain, who slumped to their fourth defeat of the season when they lost 2-1 at En Avant Guingamp on Saturday.

Monaco, who have scored 11 goals in their last two competitive games, will move within one point of Nice if they beat visiting Olympique Lyonnais later on Sunday.

Balotelli put the hosts ahead on 32 minutes, converting a penalty after Alassane Plea was brought down in the area.

Dijon hit back five minutes later when Tavares also converted from the spot, after Arnaud Souquet was sanctioned for dangerous play.

Balotelli restored the lead when he latched onto Souquet's cross from the right five minutes into the second half, although he appeared to be in an offside position.

Dijon, who pushed hard in the closing stages, were left in 18th place on 16 points, a point above FC Lorient.

Ten-man Monaco went down 3-1 to Olympique Lyonnais for their first league loss in over two months and their first at home this season, leaving them four points off the pace in second.

Monaco's free-scoring run - 53 goals in 17 games - ended as Lyon's Rachid Ghezzal, Mathieu Valbuena and Alexandre Lacazette struck to send their side up to fourth on 31 points.

Tiemoue Bakayoko pulled one back but Monaco finished with 10 men after Benjamin Mendy was sent off late in the first half.

Marseille climbed into the top six after a comfortable 2-0 home defeat of Lille.

Florian Thauvin (Marseille)

Florian Thauvin (Marseille)AFP

Second-half finishes from Bafetimbi Gomis and Florian Thauvin secured the three points that took them from ninth to sixth, and left Lille in 13th.

After a goalless first half, the hosts took the lead in the 56th minute when, shortly after Lille had threatened, Maxime Lopez's cross found Gomis in the penalty area and the striker shot into the bottom left corner beyond goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

Thauvin ensured victory just five minutes later, with a classy left-footed finish from outside the area that flew into the top left corner.