Mario Balotelli received his second red card of the season as Nice were held to a draw in Bordeaux.
The eccentric striker has been in fine form for the Ligue 1 club since joining on a free transfer in the summer, scoring eight goals as Lucien Favre’s side have embarked on an unlikely title challenge (and currently sit at the top of the table).
However, the Italian international has also had his fair share of disciplinary problems. Despite playing in just thirteen matches in all competitions, Balotelli has managed to pick up eight yellow cards – and was sent off for the second time in this campaign against Bordeaux on Wednesday night.
With Nice looking to main their four-point lead over second-placed Monaco, the two sides were injury time, heading for a scoreless draw, when Balotelli let his frustration get the better of him.
Appearing to take an elbow (or at least a forearm) to the face from Bordreux’s Igor Lewczuk, the 26-year-old reacted by kicking the Polish defender in the leg, sending Lewczuk crashing to the ground and seeing the striker get his marching orders.
In what proved to be an extremely bad-tempered final few minutes at the Nouveau Stade, the away side were reduced to nine men when Younes Belhanda was also sent off.
The Moroccan international was adjudged to have kicked Bordeaux midfielder Francois Kamano, though there is little doubt that his opponent mad the most of the challege and went down way too easily.
However, while both red cards might look harsh relative to how hard the contact was, the fact that they kicked the Bordeaux players at all means that to the letter of the law they were both worthy of dismissal.
The game finished 0-0 and Nice stay on top of Ligue 1, but Monaco’s 2-1 against Caen has reduced the gap at the top to just two points ahead of the league’s winter break.