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.
But by the end of the weekend Lucien Favre’s men could find themselves overtaken by Paris Saint Germain and slipping five points behind leaders Monaco.
Aside from the dropped points Swiss coach Favre will also be fretting over midfielder Wylan Cyprien, who left the pitch on a stretcher with a serious looking right knee injury.
“It’s very complicated when we are being led 2-0 at home, so we’re happy with the point for a draw,” said Favre.
“We’re on 63 points whereas for the past fortnight we’ve had to make do without our top scorer (Alassane Plea, out for rest of season).
“Wylan Cyprien is injured, it looks serious.”
Balotelli had the first shot on target, a 25m effort which fell safely into the arms of Caen goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre.
On 35 minutes a Caen counter attack caught the Nice defence on the hop.
An unmarked Vincent Bassat crossed for Ivan Santini who rose highest to head past Nice keeper Yoan Cardinale.
Caen came out after the break and quickly doubled their lead courtesy of a fine piece of individual artistry from Yann Karamoh.
In a move originating from the Caen area the striker ran onto a long pass, lobbed the outrushing Cardinale and raced onto the rebound to make it 2-0.
Balotelli put Nice back in the hunt, the flamboyant Italian knocking in Dante’s header after a high ball from the left on 71 minutes left Vercoutre struggling.
And the hosts were level shortly after when Donis picked up another assist from the left, the English-born Greek forward’s shot crossing the line after the ball had hit first the left post, then the right.
Later, a brace from Florian Thauvin and a goal from Remy Cabella earned Marseille a 3-0 home win over midtable Angers to push Rudi Garcia’s side up to fifth and restore confidence after their 5-1 drubbing by PSG last time out.
Ligue 1 leaders Monaco host Bordeaux on Saturday with PSG, hurting after their sensational midweek Champions League implosion against Barcelona, at Lorient on Sunday.
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