Balotelli scores as Nice draws from 2 goals down in Ligue 1

Nice's Mario Balotelli, 2nd right, celebrates with teammates after he scored during a Europa League group K soccer match between Zulte Waregem and Nice at the Regenboog stadium in Waregem, Belgium, on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. (Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP)

PARIS — Radamel Falcao is making Monaco fans forget Kylian Mbappe’s departure from the French champion.

The Colombian striker added two more goals to his impressive tally this season as Monaco heaped more misery on struggling Lille with a 4-0 win at the northern club in the French league on Friday.

After scoring nine in Monaco’s opening six matches for the most prolific start to a season by any player in the league in 40 years, Falcao took his total to 11 with the brace.

He has more goals than any other striker in the top five European leagues so far this season.

Despite Mbappe’s move to rival Paris Saint-Germain during the summer, Monaco has retained its attacking verve, with 21 goals in seven matches.

Stevan Jovetic, who joined from Inter Milan, scored his first goal for the Riviera team to open the scoring. Rachid Ghezzal doubled the visitors’ lead from Almamy Toure’s cross at the half hour mark, then Falcao made it three from the rebound after Rony Lopes’s effort was thwarted by goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

Falcao sealed Monaco’s win from the spot after Jorge was brought down by Rominigue Kouame in the box.

The win moved the defending champions level on points with PSG, which travels to Montpellier on Saturday aiming to extend its perfect record to seven matches.

Lille stayed 17th. Marcelo Bielsa’s side has not won in six games since beating Nantes in its opening game in early August.

BALOTELLI’S FOURTH

Mario Balotelli scored his fourth goal this season from the spot and Ismael Traore added an own goal as Nice erased a two-goal deficit to draw with Angers 2-2 in the French league on Friday.

The Nice hosts trailed 2-0 after 34 minutes after Mateo Pavlovic headed home a free kick and Karl Toko-Ekambi scored from close range with a fine volley at Allianz Arena.

Midfielder Thomas Mangani was sanctioned five minutes later for a handball in the box and Balotelli converted the penalty by sending ‘keeper Alexandre Letellier the wrong way.

It was Balotelli’s 23rd goal in all competitions for Nice since the former Manchester City striker joined last year.

Traore was unfortunate to beat Letellier in the 76th when he inadvertently diverted the ball in while trying to clear a free kick.

Nice stands in sixth place, eight points behind PSG.