Mario who? Nice shrug off Balotelli injury
With Mario Balotelli out injured, Plea assumed the lead role for Lucien Favre’s unbeaten side and netted the opener on 12 minutes before adding a second from the penalty spot after Georges Mandjeck had equalised.
Substitute Habib Diallo made it 2-2 midway through the second half for Metz but Plea struck for a third time on 84 minutes before Wylan Cyprien wrapped up the points in injury time.
“It’s a deserved win even if it was very tough. We played well,” said Favre.
“The players’ reaction was very good after they equalised for two-all. We’re incredibly happy to still be undefeated but we have to keep on working.”
It was a fifth successive win for Nice as they moved four points clear of second-place Monaco, while Metz have now conceded 14 goals in their last three home matches.
Earlier, on-loan duo Henri Saivet and Jordan Veretout scored their first Saint-Etienne goals since returning to France from Newcastle United and Aston Villa respectively in a 2-0 win away to Caen.
Paris Saint-Germain, in third, entertain Marseille in the Classique later on in what will be Rudi Garcia’s first match as coach of the visitors.
Monaco provisionally reclaimed second place on Friday with a 6-2 demolition of Montpellier at the Stade Louis II.
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