Nice win again minus Balotelli
NICE may have been without Mario Balotelli but they ground out a 1-0 win at Nancy yesterday to go back to the top of the Ligue 1 table. With Balotelli, scorer of four goals in his first two appearances in French football, left behind on the Cote d’Azur due to an adductor problem, his fellow striker Alassane Plea scored the only goal of the game at the Stade Marcel-Picot. The result maintained Nice’s unbeaten start to the French season under new coach Lucien Favre and allowed them to end the weekend at the summit after Monaco briefly usurped them on Saturday evening. Monaco had been taken apart in a 4-0 derby defeat in Nice in midweek but bounced back to beat Angers 2-1 in the absence of Radamel Falcao, who was recovering from concussion. Nice’s victory means they are a point clear of Monaco and three points clear of Toulouse, who stunned stumbling Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on Friday to leave the champions in fourth spot. “We played well in the second half, much better than in the first half when we were squeezed like lemons,” said Favre. “To have 17 points after seven matches is magnificent. We are all happy.” SaintEtienne came good in the second half to beat Lille 3-1 and leave their opponents rooted to the foot of the table. In the late game, Marseille came from behind to beat Nantes 2-1 at the Velodrome with Clinton Njie cancelling out Emiliano Sala’s opener before Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed the winner from the penalty spot. – AFP
COLOGNE FANS DELAY LEIPZIG TEAM BUS WITH SIT-DOWN PROTEST
COLOGNE fans organised a sit-down protest to block the team bus of opponents RB Leipzig yesterday, forcing the Bundesliga match to start 15 minutes late. Photographs showed around 100 Cologne supporters sitting down on the road to the stadium in a protest against Leipzig which is bank-rolled by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull. The bus eventually reached the stadium via an alternative route although it could not enter the underground car park, causing further problems for the visitors, German media said. “We had a bit of trouble getting to the stadium and we needed more time to prepare professionally for the match,” Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhuettl told reporters.