PARIS – Mario Balotelli scored the only goal of the game as Nice beat Dijon 1-0 in Ligue 1 on Sunday, but his afternoon was marred when he was sent off late on.
The Italian striker converted a penalty five minutes from halftime after a foul on Alassane Plea in the area 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.
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.
They climb back up to 15th, one point and one place above Dijon.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Lyon can reclaim third place from Nantes with a win away to Saint-Etienne in the Rhone derby, one of the biggest fixtures in French football.
Struggling Lille go to bottom club Metz with rumours swirling that enigmatic Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa could lose his job in the event of another slip-up.
Marseille, in fifth, host Caen at the Velodrome in an atmosphere made tense after Patrice Evra was suspended by the club for aiming a karate kick at the head of one of his team’s own supporters.
Evra was red-carded after the incident, which occurred in the pre-match warm-up before Thursday’s Europa League defeat to Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal.
A banner at one end of the ground on Sunday carried the slogan “This Game is Over” in English, parodying Evra’s favourite slogan of “I love this game”.
Chants also rang out insulting the 36-year-old former Manchester United and Juventus left back.