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VIDEO: Balotelli back in the Champions League? Nice seal top-three finish

14:13 GMT+3 16/04/2017
Jean Michael Seri Nice
The Ligue 1 side have guaranteed themselves of at least a playoff to feature in Europe's top competition, capping an outstanding campaign

Should Mario Balotelli elect to extend his stay with Nice, he will find himself in contention to play in next season’s Champions League as the Cote d’Azur side have secured their first podium finish in Ligue 1 for the best part of 50 years.

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A 3-1 victory over Nancy at the Allianz Riviera on Saturday secured Lucien Favre’s men at worst third place, which is synonymous with a playoff place for Europe’s premier club competition.

Balotelli was forced to watch on from the sidelines due to a one-match suspension, but after his side fell behind for the ninth time in their last 14 matches, they rallied.

Mickael Le Bihan, the Italy international’s replacement, slid home the opening goal from a Younes Belhanda cross before Jean Michael Seri made the points safe with a double in the second half.

The highly-rated midfielder completed the win with this goal, which showcased his cool head and hard running.

Nice are 19 points ahead of fourth-placed Lyon, who tackle Bastia on Sunday and have only 18 marks left to play for.

Balotelli’s side trail Ligue 1 leaders Monaco by only four points heading into the last weeks of the campaign, though the Stade Louis II side do have a match in hand. Nice play second-placed PSG at home – where they are unbeaten this season – in a fortnight.