Balotelli banned after Bordeaux red

Nice will be without Mario Balotelli for two matches following the Italian striker’s dismissal away to Bordeaux last month.

Mario Balotelli has been suspended for two matches after being sent off late in Nice’s Ligue 1 fixture away to Bordeaux last month.

The Italian striker was shown a straight red card in the 91st minute of the 0-0 draw Stade Matmut-Atlantique on December 21, during the final round of games before French football’s mid-season break.

Nice are the surprise leaders at this stage of campaign, sitting two points clear of second-placed Monaco and five ahead of reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain.

But they will be without the former Inter, Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool man due to his dismissal, which was prompted by a kick aimed at opponent Igor Lewczuk.

The 26-year-old striker was joined in seeing red by team-mate Younes Belhanda, who received his marching orders four minutes later.

The injured Moroccan attacker, who would in any case be unfit to play, will formally sit out one game, while Balotelli is due to miss both the Coupe de France tie away to Lorient on Sunday and the resumption of the Ligue 1 season at home to relegation-threatened Metz.

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Head coach Lucien Favre received a suspended two-match ban for his vociferous protests against the two dismissals.

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