Balotelli Returns For Nice In Europa League Win Over Russian Side Krasnodar
Mario Balotelli made his return to competition with ‘Les Aiglons,’ after a three-week absence due to a calf injury. His side trailed Krasnodar after 52 minutes but came back with late goals after the visitors were down to 10 men following captain Andreas Granqvist being sent off.
Fedor Smolov put the Russian team ahead with a carefully-threaded finish from a tight angle early in the second half, with Alexy Bosetti, who replaced Balotelli at interval, scoring the 64-minute penalty to equalize.
Maxime le Marchand converted a flick-on from 17-year-old Hicham Mahou to volley home the winner at 77, sealing a 2-1 victory for Nice in their final group match.
Nice, however, finished bottom of Group I with six points despite the victory, in a group that already had the clearance accounts settled.
Krasnodar, tying Salzburg with seven points, are through to the knockout stage on a head-to-head advantage over the Austrians, who beat group leaders Schalke 04 2-0 at home.