Nice (France): Controversial Italian striker Mario Balotelli continued his impressive run in Ligue 1 as his brace helped Nice rout Monaco 4-0 and move atop the Ligue 1 football table.
The former Liverpool player, who joined Nice on a free transfer, scored twice on his debut against Marseille and repeated the trick in the sixth round clash at the Allianz Riviera here on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.
After captain Paul Baysse headed the home side into a 17th-minute lead, Balotelli, who was rested during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Montpellier, raced into the area and drilled a shot into the far corner on 30 minutes.
The 26-year-old then doubled his tally in the 68th minute when he swept home Younes Belhanda’s through ball inside the penalty area.
Nice were awarded a penalty for Tiemoue Bakayoko’s challenge on Valentin Eysseric at the 83rd minute, when the shoot-out expert Balotelli had already been replaced.
Alassane Plea saw his penalty saved, but two minutes later headed home a Cyprien cross to complete a dream night for Lucien Favre’s men.
Nice leapfrogged the early front-runners at the top of the Ligue 1 table, with a one-point lead over champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Also on Wednesday, Bordeaux climbed up the table and into the fourth place with a 3-0 victory at Metz.
Lyon came from behind to beat 10-man Montpellier 5-1, Saint-Etienne secured a point at Nantes in a goalless draw.