Mario Balotelli went from hero to villain as he scored before being sent off in Nice's Ligue 1 clash with Dijon
Mario Balotelli went from hero to villain as he scored before being sent off in Nice’s Ligue 1 clash with Dijon.
The Italian striker converted a penalty five minutes from half-time for his sixth league goal of the campaign.
He was then sent off for the third time in Ligue 1 since moving to Nice at the start of last season, receiving a straight red card for chopping down Dijon defender Cedric Yambere from behind with a minute left.
The referee, Oliver Thual, also controversially sent Balotelli off in October last season, again after scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Lorient.
Balotelli remonstrated with the fourth official as he went off but Nice held on to end a run of four successive league defeats and six consecutive losses in all competitions.
“Without criticising anyone, it seems a bit harsh. He wanted to win the ball and had no intention to hurt anyone,” said Nice coach Lucien Favre of Balotelli’s sending-off.
“But it is true that a tackle from behind is a straight red. He was annoyed after the match and thought it was too hard on him. But now he’s OK.”
Watch the two incidents in the video above