Mario Balotelli

AFP

Bastia get neutral ground, closed doors ban

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Paris (AFP) – Bastia will have to play their next home game at a neutral venue and behind closed doors as punishment for crowd violence which led to Sunday’s match with Lyon being abandoned, French Ligue 1 officials said.

Supporters of the Corsican side twice invaded the pitch and attacked the visiting Lyon players which caused the game to be called off at half-time.

Bastia get neutral ground, closed doors ban

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Paris (AFP) – Bastia will have to play their next home game at a neutral venue and behind closed doors as punishment for crowd violence which led to Sunday’s match with Lyon being abandoned, French Ligue 1 officials said.

Supporters of the Corsican side twice invaded the pitch and attacked the visiting Lyon players which caused the game to be called off at half-time.

Seri scores twice as Nice secure Champions League place

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Paris (AFP) – Pocket-sized midfielder Jean Michael Seri netted twice in the second half as Nice came from behind to beat Nancy 3-1 on Saturday and secure a crack at next season’s Champions League.

Junior Dale gave struggling Nancy the lead at the Allianz Riviera but Mikael Le Bihan levelled before the break and Ivory Coast international Seri took centre stage in the second half, scoring one of his goals from the penalty spot.

Seri scores twice as Nice secure Champions League place

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Paris (AFP) – Pocket-sized midfielder Jean Michael Seri netted twice in the second half as Nice came from behind to beat Nancy 3-1 on Saturday and secure a crack at next season’s Champions League.

Junior Dale gave struggling Nancy the lead at the Allianz Riviera but Mikael Le Bihan levelled before the break and Ivory Coast international Seri took centre stage in the second half, scoring one of his goals from the penalty spot.

Nice cede ground in title race, Marseille up to fifth

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Paris (AFP) – Mario Balotelli helped Nice salvage a 2-2 draw against modest Caen on Friday in a result that could prove costly to the south coast side’s Ligue 1 title dream.

Balotelli’s strike deep in the second half followed minutes later by Anastasios Donis’ leveller pushed Nice into provisional second.

Nice cede ground in title race, Marseille up to fifth

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Paris (AFP) – Mario Balotelli helped Nice salvage a 2-2 draw against modest Caen on Friday in a result that could prove costly to the south coast side’s Ligue 1 title dream.

Balotelli’s strike deep in the second half followed minutes later by Anastasios Donis’ leveller pushed Nice into provisional second.

Bastia punished over Balotelli abuse

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Paris (AFP) – French Ligue 1 side Bastia were punished Thursday over racist abuse directed at Nice striker Mario Balotelli in a game last month.

The French league’s disciplinary commission docked Bastia one point – suspended – and ordered the club to close its East Stand for the next three home games over the monkey chants by some of its fans.

Talented Balotelli needs attitude change – Italy coach

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Milan (AFP) – Controversial striker Mario Balotelli has shown few signs of wanting to fight his way back into the national side, Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura warned on Wednesday.

Balotelli last played for Italy at their ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign, but his international and club career have been in a tailspin since then.

Talented Balotelli needs attitude change – Italy coach

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Milan (AFP) – Controversial striker Mario Balotelli has shown few signs of wanting to fight his way back into the national side, Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura warned on Wednesday.

Balotelli last played for Italy at their ill-fated 2014 World Cup campaign, but his international and club career have been in a tailspin since then.

Nice lose ground, Marseille beaten in League 1

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Paris (AFP) – Nice’s fading Ligue 1 title aspirations suffered a costly setback as they fell five points behind leaders Monaco despite rallying from two goals down in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Rennes.

First-half strikes from Morgan Amalfitano and Giovanni Sio left Rennes on course for a first win in nine matches, but Valentin Eysseric set up Anastasios Dosis to pull one back on the hour mark.

Nice lose ground after Rennes draw

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Paris (AFP) – Nice’s fading Ligue 1 title aspirations suffered a costly setback as they fell five points behind leaders Monaco despite rallying from two goals down in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Rennes.

First-half strikes from Morgan Amalfitano and Giovanni Sio left Rennes on course for a first win in nine matches, but Valentin Eysseric set up Anastasios Dosis to pull one back on the hour mark.

Nice lose ground after Rennes draw

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Paris (AFP) – Nice’s fading Ligue 1 title aspirations suffered a costly setback as they fell five points behind leaders Monaco despite rallying from two goals down in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Rennes.

First-half strikes from Morgan Amalfitano and Giovanni Sio left Rennes on course for a first win in nine matches, but Valentin Eysseric set up Anastasios Dosis to pull one back on the hour mark.

Nice return top after Guingamp win

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Paris (AFP) Mario Balotelli secured a first win in four games for Nice as they provisionally returned to the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 victory at home to Guingamp on Sunday.

Alassane Plea struck after 11 minutes to give Nice the lead at the Allianz Riviera and Jean-Michael Seri, back from Africa Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast, added a second before half-time.

Bastia fan admits Balotelli racial abuse – club

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Bastia (France) (AFP) "Several" Bastia fans racially abused Nice forward Mario Balotelli with monkey chants while one admitted it and faces a France-wide stadium ban, the Corsican club said on Wednesday.

The Italian said he suffered racist abuse throughout Friday's 1-1 Ligue 1 draw at Bastia, where the coach of title-chasers Nice was also pelted with stones.

Bastia admits fans racially abused Balotelli

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Bastia (France) (AFP) "Several" Bastia fans racially abused Nice forward Mario Balotelli with monkey chants while one admitted it and faces a France-wide stadium ban, the Corsican club said on Wednesday.

The Italian said he suffered racist abuse throughout Friday's 1-1 Ligue 1 draw at Bastia, where the coach of title-chasers Nice was also pelted with stones.

Bastia admits fans racially abused Balotelli

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Bastia (France) (AFP) "Several" Bastia fans racially abused Nice forward Mario Balotelli with monkey chants while one admitted it and faces a France-wide stadium ban, the Corsican club said on Wednesday.

The Italian said he suffered racist abuse throughout Friday's 1-1 Ligue 1 draw at Bastia, where the coach of title-chasers Nice was also pelted with stones.

Cavani hits double for impressive PSG

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Paris (AFP) Edinson Cavani struck his 19th and 20th goals of the Ligue 1 season as French champions Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at in-form Nantes on Saturday.

The impressive away win leaves PSG still in third, but they are now just a point behind leaders Nice and level with Monaco, who have a game in hand on Sunday at home to Lorient.

Title hopefuls Nice held at Bastia

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Bastia (France) (AFP) French title hopefuls Nice edged provisionally a point clear of Monaco but were Friday lamenting the loss of two points in a 1-1 draw at lowly Bastia.

The match was marred by an ugly incident beforehand when police reported some Bastia fans stoned the Nice team bus, breaking two windows, as it arrived at the Armand Cesari stadium.

Leaders Nice edged by disputed Caen penalty

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Paris (AFP) Table-toppers Nice suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season on Sunday when they went down 1-0 after a hotly disputed penalty at Caen.

The southern side still top Ligue 1 with 29 points ahead of Monaco on 26 points while champions Paris Saint Germain are third on 23 ahead of their Sunday night game at home to Rennes.

Leaders Nice edged by disputed Caen penalty

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Paris (AFP) Table-toppers Nice suffered their first Ligue 1 defeat of the season on Sunday when they went down 1-0 after a hotly disputed penalty at Caen.

The southern side still top Ligue 1 with 29 points ahead of Monaco on 26 points while champions Paris Saint Germain are third on 23 ahead of their Sunday night game at home to Rennes.

Marseille hold PSG in drab ‘Classique’

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Paris (AFP) There was nothing "Classique" about it as Paris Saint-Germain and bitter rivals Marseille conjured up an uninspiring 0-0 draw in relentless rain in the French capital on Sunday.

Billed as the Ligue 1 clash to rival Spain's El Clasico, this was a poor advert for French football and did little to dispel the impression that reigning champions PSG are struggling to get to grips with coach Unai Emery's methods.

Mario who? Nice shrug off Balotelli injury

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Paris (AFP) Alassane Plea grabbed a hat-trick as surprise Ligue 1 leaders Nice continued their terrific start to the season with a thrilling 4-2 victory at promoted Metz on Sunday.

With Mario Balotelli out injured, Plea assumed the lead role for Lucien Favre's unbeaten side and netted the opener on 12 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after Georges Mandjeck had equalised.

Plea heroics keep leaders Nice rolling

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Paris (AFP) Alassane Plea grabbed a hat-trick as surprise Ligue 1 leaders Nice continued their terrific start to the season with a thrilling 4-2 victory at promoted Metz on Sunday.

With Mario Balotelli out injured, Plea assumed the lead role for Lucien Favre's unbeaten side and netted the opener on 12 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after Georges Mandjeck had equalised.

Plea heroics keep leaders Nice rolling

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Paris (AFP) Alassane Plea grabbed a hat-trick as surprise Ligue 1 leaders Nice continued their terrific start to the season with a thrilling 4-2 victory at promoted Metz on Sunday.

With Mario Balotelli out injured, Plea assumed the lead role for Lucien Favre's unbeaten side and netted the opener on 12 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after Georges Mandjeck had equalised.

Nice down Lyon to pull clear of Monaco

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Paris (AFP) High-flyers Nice stretched their lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Lyon on Friday after second-place Monaco crashed to defeat at Toulouse.

Nice captain Paul Baysse volleyed in a fifth-minute strike at the Allianz Riviera while Jean-Michael Seri swept in a second on 76 minutes to send Lucien Favre's men four points clear at the summit.

Nice down Lyon to pull clear of Monaco

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Paris (AFP) High-flyers Nice stretched their lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Lyon on Friday after second-place Monaco crashed to defeat at Toulouse.

Nice captain Paul Baysse volleyed in a fifth-minute strike at the Allianz Riviera while Jean-Michael Seri swept in a second on 76 minutes to send Lucien Favre's men four points clear at the summit.

Favre keeps Nice grounded despite flying start

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Paris (AFP) Nice coach Lucien Favre urged the surprise Ligue 1 leaders to look no further than Friday's clash against traditional French giants Lyon as they bid to extend their unbeaten start.

Nice lead Cote d'Azur rivals Monaco by a point at the top after eight matches, and Favre is counting on his players to resume where they left off prior to the international break.

Favre keeps Nice grounded despite flying start

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Paris (AFP) Nice coach Lucien Favre urged the surprise Ligue 1 leaders to look no further than Friday's clash against traditional French giants Lyon as they bid to extend their unbeaten start.

Nice lead Cote d'Azur rivals Monaco by a point at the top after eight matches, and Favre is counting on his players to resume where they left off prior to the international break.

Mario Balotelli targets Italy recall

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Milan (AFP) Mario Balotelli said he plans an explosive return to the Italy national team in an interview in which he also hit out at former clubs Liverpool and AC Milan.

Balotelli has not played for Italy since defeat to Uruguay in the final group match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil sent the Azzurri crashing out of the tournament at the first hurdle.

Totti sets up Roma rout, Ibrahimovic delivers for United

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Paris (AFP) Francesco Totti at 40 continues to shine for Roma, Manchester United needed Zlatan Ibrahimovic's height to see off stubborn Zorya Luhansk while Mario Balotelli got on the score sheet for Nice again in Europa League action.

AFP Sports picks out the best of the games from matchday two on Thursday:

Three assists for Totti

Two days after his 40th birthday, captain Francesco Totti set up three of Roma's goals as they romped past Romanian outfit Astra 4-0.

Totti sets up Roma rout, Ibrahimovic delivers for United

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Paris (AFP) Francesco Totti at 40 continues to shine for Roma, Manchester United needed Zlatan Ibrahimovic's height to see off stubborn Zorya Luhansk while Mario Balotelli got on the score sheet for Nice again in Europa League action.

AFP Sports picks out the best of the games from matchday two on Thursday:

Three assists for Totti

Two days after his 40th birthday, captain Francesco Totti set up three of Roma's goals as they romped past Romanian outfit Astra 4-0.

Nice

OGC Nice: Mario Balotelli Celebrates Scoring Twice Against Lille By Knee-Sliding Through Airport Security (Video)

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Surprise package Nice kept the pressure on Monaco at the top of the Ligue 1 pile with a 2-1 away victory at Lille on Friday evening.

Both of Les Aiglons' goals came courtesy of one Mario Balotelli, with the once-waywardItalian striker notching his 14th and 15th of the season so far in the space of 24 appearances.

Balotelli should stay with Nice beyond current campaign

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When Mario Balotelli was granted a free transfer to French club Nice in the summer, most people were not expecting much from the former Liverpool misfit. After all, the Italian striker departed Merseyside after netting just four goals in 28 total appearances. He spent two years as a Red, but managed only one full season at Anfield before being sent on loan to AC Milan for the 2015/16 campaign (which was equally as disastrous).

Balotelli should stay with Nice beyond current campaign

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When Mario Balotelli was granted a free transfer to French club Nice in the summer, most people were not expecting much from the former Liverpool misfit. After all, the Italian striker departed Merseyside after netting just four goals in 28 total appearances. He spent two years as a Red, but managed only one full season at Anfield before being sent on loan to AC Milan for the 2015/16 campaign (which was equally as disastrous).

Monaco plot Nice revenge in French summit clash

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Paris (AFP) Free-scoring Monaco led by Radamel Falcao and Mario Balotelli's slick Nice side clash at the top of French Ligue 1 this weekend.

Early pacesetters Nice have faltered of late allowing Monaco to move top of the table on goal difference on 49 points, with champions Paris Saint-Germain lurking in third on 46 ahead of their trip to Dijon later Saturday.

Monaco plot Nice revenge in French summit clash

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Paris (AFP) Free-scoring Monaco led by Radamel Falcao and Mario Balotelli's slick Nice side clash at the top of French Ligue 1 this weekend.

Early pacesetters Nice have faltered of late allowing Monaco to move top of the table on goal difference on 49 points, with champions Paris Saint-Germain lurking in third on 46 ahead of their trip to Dijon later Saturday.

OGC Nice: Mario Balotelli Subbed Off At Half-Time During Krasnodar Defeat Because He Had Sore Throat

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OGC Nice coach Lucien Favre revealed that he substituted Mario Balotelli at half-time of his side's Europa League defeat against Krasnodar was suffering from a sore throat.

Balotelli scored with a smart finish just a few minutes before the break but was replaced by Alassane Plea at the break after failing to shake off his game-ending bout of sniffles.

English Premier League

Ligue 1: Nice Striker Mario Balotelli Sees Red Against Bordeaux, Gives Shirt To Fan On Leaving Pitch (Video)

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Linked with a move back to the Premier League this week, Mario Balotelli was once again grabbing the headlines during Nice's goalless draw with Bordeaux on Wednesday evening.

The former Liverpool man picked up his second red card of the season after kicking out at an opponent late in the game.

Ligue 1: Mario Balotelli Scores Superb Late Winner For Nice, Gets Sent Off Six Minutes Later (Video)

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He may have long since left the Premier League, but Mario Balotelli shall remain forever in our hearts. The ex-Liverpool flop was once again amongst the goals for Nice on Sunday, nettinga late winner against Lorient before, in classic Balotelli fashion, seeing red just six minutes later.

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Balotelli's goal, his sixth in five games for Nice, came on 86 minutes, with the Italian producing a sublime curling finish.

The Rest

PUMA Launches the New 365 Street Football Footwear

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PUMA introduced their new 365 Street Football Footwear range at an event last night in Paris. As a shoe that is intended as much for football as it is for style, it was only right to celebrate the streets for which the PUMA 365 was intended. In Paris PUMAput on a tournament with 8 teams [...]