Balotelli scores 2 as league leader Nice beats Dijon 2-1 | Inquirer Sports

Balotelli scores 2 as league leader Nice beats Dijon 2-1

/ 01:09 AM December 19, 2016

Radamel Falcao of Monaco - 2 Nov 2016

In this photo, taken Wednesday Nov. 2, 2016, Monaco’s Radamel Falcao celebrates after scoring during the Champions League Group E soccer match between Monaco and CSKA at the Louis II stadium in Monaco. French league leader Monaco continued its rampant scoring form as Radamel Falcao netted a hat-trick in a 4-0 win away to Bordeaux on Saturday, Dec. 10. The win moved the Principality side to the top of the league on goal difference – with the emphasis emphatically on goals: 53 in 17 league games so far. (Photo by CLAUDE PARIS/AP)

Rejuvenated striker Mario Balotelli took his league tally this season to eight goals in eight games as French leader Nice beat struggling Dijon 2-1 to move four points ahead of Monaco.

A home win for Monaco against Lyon later Sunday would close the gap to one point. But Nice is seven points clear of defending champion Paris Saint-Germain, which lost 2-1 at Guingamp on Saturday for its fourth league defeat of the season and still has to play at Nice in the second part of the campaign.

Balotelli scored from a penalty kick in the 32nd minute and, after Julio Tavares equalized from the spot shortly after, pounced five minutes after halftime.

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The Italian forward joined this summer as a free signing from Premier League side Liverpool and is reviving a chaotic career where he has often stood out for controversial incidents on and off the field.

His unhappy time at Liverpool came to end when the English club sent him on loan to AC Milan last season – his former club – but he got only one goal in 20 league games for the Italian side.

The season before that, Balotelli managed only one league goal for Liverpool in 16 games.

But now, despite an occasional absence through minor injuries, he is a key part of coach Lucien Favre’s plans.

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Balotelli struck his penalty low to the left, with goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet guessing the right way, and then turned in defender Arnaud Souquet’s cross from the right.

Caen 3, Metz 0

Croatian striker Ivan Santini scored his eighth league goal of the season as Normandy side Caen moved two points away from the relegation zone.

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Caen took the lead through 18-year-old striker Yann Karamoh in the 20th minute.

Santini netted in the 61st before substitute forward Pape Sane sealed the win in injury time.

Caen is in 16th place, while Dijon is 18th.

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Later Sunday, Marseille was at home to Lille. –Jerome Pugmire/AP

TAGS: Dijon, Mario Balotelli, Monaco, Nice

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