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Without Balotelli, Nice slump to new defeat


Paris (AFP) – Nice saw their poor start to the season continue on Saturday as they went down to a 3-0 defeat at newly-promoted Amiens in Ligue 1.

With Balotelli sidelined due to illness and Ivorian midfielder Jean-Michael Seri left out after the collapse of his transfer to Barcelona, Nice slumped to a third loss in four league games.

Lucien Favre’s side fell behind when ex-Chelsea forward Gael Kakuta netted from a free-kick, the goal Amiens’ first ever in the top flight.

Moussa Konate then added a brace as Nice toiled, with recent signing Wesley Sneijder struggling to make an impact.

It is a new blow for Nice after last season’s third-placed side were beaten by Napoli in the Champions League play-offs in midweek, losing 4-0 on aggregate.

Earlier, Lyon preserved their unbeaten record with a 0-0 draw away at Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes as both Bertrand Traore and Nabil Fekir hit the woodwork.

Still looking to strengthen after the sales of Alexandre Lacazette, Corentin Tolisso and captain Maxime Gonalons over the summer, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas later confirmed that the club are closing on another new signing.

Senegal-born midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop is close to a 25 million-euro ($29.8 million) move from Celta Vigo while Aulas has also hinted at interest in Hatem Ben Arfa, out of favour at Paris Saint-Germain.

“It is almost done, he needs to pass the medical in Lyon,” Aulas told Canal Plus of Diop.

“It is an important deal. There was a lot of interest in him, including from Tottenham.”

Bordeaux are still unbeaten after Francois Kamano and Younousse Sankhare netted in a 2-1 win over Troyes, while there were also wins for Caen, Dijon and Toulouse.

Paris Saint-Germain continued their perfect start to the season by beating Saint-Etienne 3-0 on Friday to make it four wins from four.

Edinson Cavani outshone Neymar by scoring twice at the Parc des Princes either side of a Thiago Motta goal.

Defending champions Monaco will be hoping to keep up their 100 percent record when they host Marseille on Sunday evening.

Heavily linked with a mega-money move to PSG and left out of Monaco’s last two matches, striker Kylian Mbappe has been included in the principality club’s squad for the match at the Stade Louis II.

“I am not surprised that it has dragged on so long. Transfers like that with astronomical sums involved take time,” said Valere Germain, the ex-Monaco striker now at Marseille, on Saturday.

“I don’t know if he is upset by it but I know that he has his head on his shoulders.”

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