Balotelli gets suspended ban for insulting referee
Nice's Mario Balotelli was handed a suspended ban on Thursday for insulting a referee in last weekend's Ligue 1 win over Lorient. The forward will be suspended for Nice's Ligue 1 encounter with Montpellier on Friday, and the Ligue de Football Professionnel said he will receive a ban for an additional game for any further incidents.
Meanwhile, Bastia received a suspended one-point deduction and partial stadium closure for three games following alleged racist abuse aimed at Balotelli during the teams' 1-1 draw on Jan. 20.
Alassane Plea out for the season
Nice's title hopes were dealt a blow last night when it was confirmed that French striker Alassane Plea would miss the rest of the season after undergoing a knee procedure. Plea suffered the injury two Sundays ago in a Ligue 1 encounter with Rennes. With Mario Balotelli suspended, Nice are very thin on attacking options. Anastasios Donis, a loanee from Juventus, and Alexy Bosetti, represent the only senior first team strikers available now.
Boschilia suffers ACL injury
Monaco are set to be without midfielder Gabriel Boschilia for a long spell after the Brazilian suffered a serious knee injury in Saturday's 5-0 win over Metz. Boschilia was stretchered off in the 68th minute after being injured in a challenge with Jonathan Rivierez. The club later confirmed that the 20-year-old had suffered a twisted right knee and had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament. He will undergo surgery in the coming days and is likely to miss the rest of the season.
Pastore ruled out
Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Javier Pastore will miss this weekend's Ligue 1 encounter with Dijon after suffering another injury. The midfielder only recently made his comeback after a two-and-a-half-month spell on the sidelines due to a knee injury, featuring for 20 minutes in the 4-0 win over Rennes.
"At the end of training, Pastore felt a muscle problem, and so as a precaution he will not be in the squad," coach Unai Emery stated at a news conference. "He has not played for a long time. There was muscle fatigue. He will work with the physios on Saturday."
Verratti blow for PSG
Midfielder Marco Verratti will miss Paris Saint-Germain's encounter with Monaco on Sunday after sustaining a calf injury. The Italy international suffered the problem in training on Friday morning, and medical examination confirmed initial fears. Verratti, who has played in four of PSG's five competitive games since the turn of the year, will be sidelined for two weeks. The 24-year-old could miss up to five matches in total, and is scheduled to return only just before the first leg of PSG's Champions League tie with Barcelona on 14 February.
Emery hopes Draxler's injury is not serious
Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery has admitted the extent of Julian Draxler's injury sustained in Saturday's 2-0 win away at Nantes is unknown for now but the Spaniard hopes it is not serious. Draxler limped off in the 68th minute, moments after sitting down clutching his left calf muscle. But Emery said after the game: "I do not think it is serious. I hope it is just a knock."
Balotelli banned for two games
Mario Balotelli has been suspended for two matches after being sent off in Nice's Ligue 1 game at Bordeaux. The Italian striker was shown a straight red card in the 91st minute of the 0-0 draw on December 21, during the final round of games before French football's mid-season break.
The 26-year-old was joined in seeing red by team-mate Younes Belhanda, who received his marching orders four minutes later. The injured Moroccan, who would in any case be unfit to play, will formally sit out one game, while Balotelli is due to miss both the Coupe de France tie away against Lorient on Sunday and the resumption of the Ligue 1 season at home against relegation-threatened Metz.
Belhanda suffers toe injury
Younes Belhanda is set to miss Morocco's campaign at January's Africa Cup of Nations. The 26-year-old midfielder has been ruled out for between four and six weeks with a fractured toe. Belhanda was sent off in the dying seconds of Nice's goalless draw at Bordeaux, but he also suffered the injury on Wednesday. His absence might mean a call-up for Ajax Amsterdam's Hakim Ziyech, who was surprisingly left out of Morocco's preliminary squad.
Di Maria, Ben Arfa out for PSG
Forwards Angel Di Maria and Hatem Ben Arfa will miss Wednesday's Ligue 1 match against Lorient. Di Maria must continue receiving treatment, Paris Saint-Germain said on their website, without divulging the nature of the winger's injury, while Ben Arfa is still recovering from a rib problem. The crisis-stricken French champions go into the last match before the Ligue 1 winter break seven points behind leaders Nice as their hopes of a fifth straight title have faltered during the first half of the campaign.
Boudebouz to miss rest of year
Algeria attacking midfielder Ryad Boudebouz looks set to miss next month's Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon with a knee injury. The 26-year-old's French club Montpellier have announced he will be out for several weeks as he needs an operation on the problem. Montpellier's leading scorer so far this season with seven goals hurt himself in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Lille. Boudebouz will definitely miss the final three Ligue 1 games of the year.
Match abandoned after Lopes injured by firecracker
Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was taken to the hospital after being hit by a firecracker during the team's Ligue 1 match against Metz on Saturday. The match was stopped when Lopes was struck by a firecracker in the 31st minute, before the game was ultimately abandoned due to the lack of safety conditions. Metz was leading the match 1-0 at the time of stoppage, however, Lyon could be awarded the 3-0 victory pending a decision from France's governing body.
Balotelli injures calf in training
Ligue 1 leaders Nice will be without Mario Balotelli for at least the next three matches after he injured a calf in training. The Italian striker, 26, also missed Thursday's 2-0 Europa League defeat by Schalke. Balotelli, who joined Nice from Liverpool on a free transfer this summer, has scored six goals in six league games to help Nice to the top of the table. Paul Baysse, who has been out for more than a month, will not play until the end of the year because of a knee problem.