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Nice return top after Guingamp win

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.

Jimmy Briand pulled a goal back for Guingamp on the hour but Balotelli, who was targeted with racial abuse in last week’s game at Bastia, sealed the win three minutes from time.

The victory ended a run of three straight draws for Nice who moved a point clear of Monaco at the summit. Leonardo Jardim’s men face champions Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes later.

On Saturday, Yassine Benzia punished former side Lyon with his first goals of the season to hand Lille a 2-1 win at Parc OL.

Marseille halted a run of back-to-back defeats on Friday as Bafetimbi Gomis grabbed a hat-trick in a 5-1 demolition of Montpellier on Patrice Evra’s debut after his departure from Juventus.

The nine-time French title winners further bolstered their squad on Sunday by completing a deal to re-sign France international Dimitri Payet from West Ham for a reported £25million (29.3 million euros, $31.3 million).

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