Mario Balotelli scored two second-half goals to give the visitors the lead over Monaco in the Côte d’Azur derby.
Mario Balotelli showed his generous side to help his side to a win.

Wylan Cyprien said Nice teammate Mario Balotelli had allowed him the chance to fire home the winning free kick in Sunday’s league game against Saint-Etienne.

Nice were awarded the free kick midway through the first half and Balotelli — his club’s leading scorer this season — was expected to take it.

But the Italy forward, who has 12 goals in 16 league appearances, stepped aside to allow Cyprien to net his first league strike since early March as Nice won 1-0.

“Mario always wants to take everything, but as I had been taking them rather well in training, he asked me if I felt like taking it,” Cyprien, who returned from a nine-month layoff in mid-December, said.

“Before, it wasn’t so much fun to score goals, but the [injury] nightmare is behind me. I’m feeling good, and I’m going to do all I can to come back.”

Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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