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Nice striker Plea scores hat-trick

AAP logoAAP 23/10/2016 Jerome Pugmire

Alassane Plea showed once more he can fill in perfectly for star striker Mario Balotelli, scoring a hat-trick as unbeaten French league leader Nice won 4-2 at Metz.

Nice was missing Balotelli through injury, but Plea scored for the third time this season when leading the attack in his absence on Sunday.

The 23-year-old Frenchman displayed great composure with two one-on-one finishes - including a key goal in the 84th minute - as Nice won for the eighth time in 10 games under Swiss coach Lucien Favre, who joined after six seasons with German club Borussia Moenchengladbach.

"It was a very tough match for us," Plea said.

"Our strength is that we never give up and we always look to keep scoring."

Midfielder Wylan Cyprien grabbed the fourth goal in injury time with a crisp finish. Nice remains four points clear of Monaco.

Plea put the visitors ahead in the 14th, latching onto a clever pass behind the defence from Ivory Coast midfielder Jean Michael Seri.

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