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Marseille's Mario Balotelli celebrates with Lucas Ocampos after their victory over Amiens during their French League match.
Paris: Monaco climbed out of the Ligue 1 relegation places on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Nantes, while Mario Balotelli scored for the third time in four games for a resurgent Marseille.
After failing to win at home all season until the start of February, Monaco made it back-to-back victories at the Stade Louis II as Gelson Martins fired in a Rony Lopes cross on 13 minutes.
Portugal international Martins, also on target in last week's 2-2 draw at Montpellier, has scored twice in three league appearances for Monaco following his arrival on loan from Atletico Madrid.
Leonardo Jardim's side moved up to 16th and two points clear of Dijon in the relegation play-off place.
Marseille defeated Amiens 2-0 to record three straight wins for the first time this season and jump to fourth, six points behind Lyon in the final Champions League spot.
Balotelli failed to find the net in 10 matches for Nice this season but has found his goalscoring touch since his switch to Marseille last month.
Florian Thauvin bagged his 12th goal this term to give Marseille the lead on 19 minutes at the Stade Velodrome, and Balotelli swept in a second on the turn just six minutes later.
The Italian appeared to have grabbed a second midway through the second half when he nodded in from a free-kick, but the goal was ruled out for offside following a VAR review.
"It's much too early (to talk about the top three) with the start to the season we had," said Thauvin.
"We were left behind a bit and now we're starting to come back well, but if we get carried away we're going to quickly fall back on the ground."
Patrick Vieira's Nice crashed to a heavy 3-0 loss at mid-table Angers but remain seventh.
Runaway leaders Paris Saint-Germain go to fifth-placed Saint-Etienne on Sunday, while Lille will target a sixth consecutive win at home to Montpellier.
Lyon overcame bottom side Guingamp 2-1 on Friday in their final outing before Tuesday's Champions League last 16 first leg at home to Lionel Messi's Barcelona.
Marcello Lippi was back as coach of China on Friday, four months after the World Cup winner quit and following a failed stint by fellow Italian Fabio Cannavaro.
Australia’s chances of defending the World Cup crown will depend on how well they play spin and use it, feels Ricky Ponting. “The thing that will define Australia’s success in the World Cup is, one, how well they bowl spin and, two, how well they play it,” Ponting told The Telegraph.
FIFA shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the world football body’s president Gianni Infantino. Infantino had proposed expanding the tournament and explored the idea of adding additional host nations.
Atalanta, facing one of the biggest matches in the club’s 112-year history, will be playing away at home on Sunday as they bid to pip one of the two Milan teams to a place in next season’s Champions League. The Bergamo team’s own stadium began rebuilding work this month