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Transfer Rater: Balotelli to West Ham

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Alassane Plea inspires OGC Nice to Gladbach victory

Alassane Plea came off the bench to score one and contribute an assist as OGC Nice came from behind to beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 in a friendly in Bavaria on Thursday.

The Franco-Malian attacker was one of the revelations of the Ligue 1 season last term as he adapted to a role leading the line - having previously been used almost exclusively as a right-sided wideman - and ended the campaign with 11 goals in 24 outings.

He notably found the net in a 2-2 draw away at Paris Saint-Germain, and netted a hat-trick in a 4-2 victory away at Metz, but his season was curtailed in mid-February due to a knee injury.

Now returning to full fitness, the forward came off the bench after 72 minutes, with Nice 1-0 down following a 60th-minute rocket from 30 metres by Thorgan Hazard.

Plea took just five minutes to find the equaliser, profiting from some excellent service by Pierre Lees-Melou to level the scores after initially hitting the post.

The former Lyon winger was influential in the winner, which came three minutes from time, when he played in Vincent Marcel, who struck a delightful effort from 20 metres.

Nice coach Lucien Favre will be desperate to call upon Plea's services for the entirety of the 2017-18 season, as Les Aiglons look to build on last season's success in Ligue 1 and contest the Champions League for the first time.

"With the changes, we were better, particularly offensively," Favre told Nice's official website. "Going forward, it wasn't enough, and the players who came on brought a lot with them.

"Plea and Marcel scored, and I'm happy for them."

Nice will face Dutch heavyweights Ajax in the first leg of their Champions League third-round qualifier on Wednesday.

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