Mario Balotelli continued his impressive start to life in Ligue 1 as his double in a 4-0 rout of rivals Monaco sent Nice to the top of the table.
The controversial Italy international left Liverpool for Nice on a free transfer in the last window and made it four goals in two league appearances with his brace in Wednesday’s derby at the Allianz Riviera.
Paul Baysse had already headed Nice into a 17th-minute lead by the time Balotelli raced into the area and drilled a shot into the far corner.
The former AC Milan striker then doubled his tally for the evening and the season in the 68th minute when he swept home first time inside the penalty area.
Balotelli missed out on the chance to make it a hat-trick as he had already been replaced when Nice were awarded a penalty for Tiemoue Bakayoko’s challenge on Valentin Eysseric that earned the Monaco defender a red card.
Alassane Plea, Balotelli’s replacement, saw his spot-kick saved by Danijel Subasic, but made amends moments later by nodding home Wylan Cyprien’s cross to complete a comprehensive victory for Lucien Favre’s men.
Monaco’s unbeaten league run consequently came to an abrupt halt, while Nice hold a one-point lead at the summit over champions Paris Saint-Germain.