Ligue 1 results and round-up: Mario Balotelli makes instant impact as Nice beat Marseille; PSG’s woes continue
Balotelli makes Nice impact on debut with two goals against Marseille
Former Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli struck twice on his Nice debut to help his new side defeat Mediterranean rivals Marseille 3-2 in Ligue 1 on Sunday.
Balotelli, signed on a free transfer after being allowed to leave Anfield, converted a seventh-minute penalty to open the scoring at the Allianz Riviera and struck again to level 12 minutes from time.
Florian Thauvin had equalised for Marseille and Bafetimbi Gomis’s 72nd-minute spot-kick then put the visitors ahead, but Balotelli’s second of the game set up a thrilling finale with Wylan Cyprien’s long-range shot bursting through the hands of Yohann Pele.
“Two goals, it’s a good first match, he hasn’t needed any time to adapt,” said Nice captain Paul Baysse of Balotelli, as the hosts moved level on points with Monaco at the top.
“His last match was several months ago. Tonight he gave us 90 minutes, although we had planned to take him off at some stage. It’s just one match, he still has a lot of work to do and he knows that,” added Nice manager Lucien Favre.
Erding scores hat trick as promoted Metz beats Nantes 3-0
After a failed move to the German league, Turkey forward Mevlut Erding feels right at home again in France.
He scored a hat trick for Metz in a 3-0 win at Nantes on Sunday, taking his tally to five goals in four league games and putting him one goal behind top scorer Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon.
Eroding joined promoted Metz this season following an unhappy spell with Hannover in the Bundesliga last season, where he failed to score and was loaned back to French club Guingamp after only 11 matches.
Eroding’s first goal came in the 18th minute when he reacted sharply to curl the ball in from the edge of the penalty area. For his second he showed technical poise to volley the ball in from the right, just on the strike of halftime. He completed his hat trick in the 78th, coolly sending goalkeeper Remy Riou the wrong way from the penalty spot after Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr had been fouled.
The win moved Metz provisionally up to second place with nine points.
“I’m keeping the match ball because I don’t get many hat tricks,” Erding said. “We’ve made a very good start to the season ... But we must stay humble.”
The goals took Erding’s career league tally to 91 in the French first division, where the 29-year-old journeyman has played for Sochaux, Paris Saint-Germain, Rennes and Saint-Etienne. He has eight goals in 34 appearances for Turkey, and is hoping to win his place back in the national side. Performances like this one should help.
In contrast, 21-year-old Polish striker Mariusz Stepinski was taken off midway through the second half on a frustrating debut for Nantes, having joined from Polish club Ruch Chorzow.
Nantes fans jeered the players off the field at the end.
Later Sunday, it’s: Rennes vs. Caen and Nice vs. Marseille, with controversial striker Mario Balotelli hoping to make his debut since joining Nice from Liverpool.
PSG suffer late draw
Paris Saint-Germain conceded an injury-time equaliser as they warmed up for their Uefa Champions League clash next week against Arsenal with a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Saint-Etienne on Friday.
The big-spending Parisians looked set to top Ligue 1 thanks to a second-half Lucas penalty, but Robert Beric popped up in the second minute of added-on time to somehow eke out an unlikely point for the visitors.
“Am I angry?” said new PSG coach Unai Emery. “No … The result is hard to accept but I have to keep a cool head. I have nothing to reproach the players for tonight.
“I am the coach and I am the one responsible,” added Emery, whose side were well beaten 3-1 at Monaco in their last game and lie third after four matches.
The French champions gave a first start this season to international midfielder Blaise Matuidi after the former Saint-Etienne player saw a proposed transfer to Italian champions Juventus fall through.
He was involved in the major talking point of a tepid first-half when he appeared to have his legs swept out from underneath him when well placed in the box, but the referee waved away furious home appeals for a penalty.
Meanwhile goalkeeper Kevin Trapp had to be at his best to thwart the away side when he was down smartly to his left to save from close range at the Parc des Princes.
PSG, runaway league winners last term, had plenty of the ball in the second period but did little with it, with Emery calling for winger Angel Di Maria off the bench shortly before the hour in the hope he would inject some badly needed pace and guile.
They finally made the breakthrough in the 67th minute thanks to a penalty from the Brazilian winger Lucas, after Matuidi again took a tumble.
The Parisians were cruising to victory, before Beric neatly chested down a deep cross late on and knocked the ball into the ground and over the stretched arms of Trapp.
PSG, now without defender David Luiz following his return to Chelsea, host Premier League Arsenal on Tuesday.
• PSG 1-1 St Etienne
• Lyon 1-3 Bordeaux
• Angers 3-1 Dijon
• Bastia 2-1 Toulouse
• Guingamp 1-1 Monpellier
• Lille 1-4 AS Monaco
• Lorient 0-2 AS Nancy
• Nantes 0-3 Metz
• Stade Rennes 2-0 Caen
• Nice 3 Marseille 2
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport
Published: September 10, 2016 04:00 AM