Balotelli off as Monaco close Ligue 1 gap on Nice

Paris (AFP) – Mario Balotelli and Younes Belhanda were sent off in the dying seconds as Ligue 1 leaders Nice stumbled into the winter break with 0-0 draw at Bordeaux, allowing Monaco to trim the gap at the top to two points.

Paris Saint-Germain eased the pressure on coach Unai Emery by beating Lorient 5-0. 

Bordeaux had suffered three successive defeats — conceding eight goals in their last two outings — and a frustrating evening for Nice ended disastrously with Balotelli and Belhanda dismissed for off-the-ball incidents.

Lucien Favre’s side will now start 2017  without two key players after the pair were shown straight red cards in the closing stages.

Radamel Falcao scored a penalty in a 2-1 win over Caen as Monaco rebounded from their defeat at home to Lyon last weekend.

The Colombian striker won and converted a spot-kick shortly after half-time for his 11th goal of the season before Tiemoue Bakayoko scored for the second game running at the Stade Louis II.

Herve Bazile grabbed a consolation for Caen in stoppage time.

Edinson Cavani struck his league-best 18th goal this term as reigning champions PSG snapped a three-games winless run with a five goal demolition of bottom side Lorient at the Parc des Princes.

Emery had challenged his players to finish 2016 on a high after a series of disappointing results and Belgium international Thomas Meunier opened the scoring with a superb 25th-minute lob.

Lorient centre-back Zargo Toure turned a cross from Lucas into his own net for PSG’s second just before the break, and captain Thiago Silva headed in a third minutes after the restart.

Cavani tucked away a penalty after he was brought down in the area, with Brazilian international Lucas racing onto a fine Marco Verratti pass to seal a resounding victory.

PSG head into the break trailing Nice by five points as they chase a fifth consecutive French title.

Lyon claimed their fourth win in a row with France internationals Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir on target in a 2-0 triumph over Angers.

Bafetimbi Gomis scored his 10th goal of the campaign to help Rudi Garcia’s Marseille beat Bastia 2-1 and extend their winning run.

Marseille looked destined to leave Corsica with just a point after Alexander Djiku levelled on 83 minutes, but on-loan Tottenham Hotspur forward Clinton Njie swept home an injury-time winner.

Portugal striker Eder rescued a point for Lille with superbly-taken late volley in a 1-1 draw with Rennes, while Nantes continued their resurgence under former Portuguese international Sergio Conceicao by beating Montpellier 1-0 to climb out of the relegation places.

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