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Balotelli scores again as Marseille rises to 4th in Ligue 1

PARIS (AP) — Mario Balotelli scored a fine goal in Marseille's 2-0 home win against Amiens on Saturday, taking his tally to three in four games since joining from Nice. The Italian striker failed to score in 10 games for Nice this season, and questions were raised about whether he was match fit when Marseille signed him last month. But he's turned the talk into whether his goals can help Marseille push for third place in the French league, and a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

Marseille moved to fourth place and six points behind third-placed Lyon. After winger Florian Thauvin's 12th goal of the campaign put Marseille ahead in the first half — with Balotelli involved in neat approach play — Balotelli struck six minutes later. Receiving the ball with his back to goal, he controlled it expertly on his thigh before swiveling and placing an angled shot into the bottom left corner.

Balotelli had a headed goal ruled out for offside midway through the second half, following a video review. OTHER MATCHES Monaco finally moved away from the relegation zone and into 16th place after beating Nantes 1-0.

Portuguese forward Gelson Martins slid in at the back post to put Monaco ahead after 13 minutes. It was a welcome win for Monaco after vice president Vadim Vasilyev was sacked this week, in the latest shakeup in a difficult season for the 2017 French champion.

Also, Angers beat Patrick Vieira's Nice side 3-0. Striker Stephane Bahoken put Angers ahead from the penalty spot just before halftime and midfielder Angelo Fulgini made it 2-0 shortly after the break. Substitute striker Cristian Lopez came off the bench to net the third in injury time.

Nice is in seventh place while Amiens climbed up to 12th spot. SUNDAY'S GAMES Runaway league leader Paris Saint-Germain travels to face Saint-Etienne buoyed by an impressive win at Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Elsewhere, second-placed Lille needs to beat Montpellier at home to maintain its six-point lead over Lyon. Strasbourg is at Caen and Reims faces Rennes.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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