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PARIS -- Mario Balotelli further underlined his real value since joining Nice on a free transfer, scoring his sixth goal in five league games as the French leader thrashed Nantes 4-1 on Sunday.The Italian striker was also directly involved in two other goals as surprise leader Nice maintained its six-point lead over defending champion Paris Saint-Germain.Balotellis impact has been significant, and not just for his goals.Mario has been tracking back more, Nice coach Lucien Favre said. Thats positive.The Nice fans already have a chant for Balotelli -- La, la, la, la, la, la, la, Su-per Mar-io -- in sweet music for Balotelli to hear after two difficult seasons.Balotellis unhappy time at Liverpl came to end when the English club sent him on loan to AC Milan last season -- his former club -- but he got only one goal in 20 league games.The season before that, he managed only one league goal for Liverpl in 16 games.When he joined Nice, former Liverpl defender Jamie Carragher -- a respected stalwart with more than 700 appearances for the English club -- sarcastically tweeted that a free transfer was still over the odds for Balotelli.Seven goals in seven games so far -- the other was in the Europa League -- strongly suggests otherwise.Balotellis goal ratio is even more impressive given that he is short of full fitness and has occasional muscle injuries, meaning that he does not always play the full 90 minutes. He was given a rousing ovation when he came off in the 74th minute, by which time Nice was 4-1 up.Balotelli played a part in the opener, scored by midfielder Wylan Cyprien in the 10th minute.Younes Belhanda picked out Balotellis run and, although he was closed down, the ball broke lse in the area and fell for Cyprien.Balotelli made it 2-0 in the 26th.Ivory Coast midfielder Jean Michael Seri hit a superb lping pass to Balotelli, who held off a defender before guiding the ball past goalkeeper Remy Riou with the outside of his ft.Mario controlled it superbly for his goal, Favre said.Alassane Plea, a highly promising striker, added the third goal -- his seventh of the season.Then, Balotelli played a key part in the fourth, flicking a superbly timed pass through to Portuguese left back Ricardo Pereira as he broke down the wing, and Cyprien drove the ball home from Pereiras pass.Were winning in style, said Favre, who was hired this summer after Claude Puel left to take charge of Premier League side Southampton.Nice finished fourth last season on limited resources, but lks like doing much better this time.---RENNES 1, METZ 0Brittany side Rennes has one of the best youth academies in France -- arguably second only to Lyon.Forward Wesley Said is the latest revelation to come through the ranks, and he brilliantly volleyed home the winner against Metz in the 56th minute.The 21-year-old Said also scored midweek in a League Cup win against Lorient.Things are going well for me at the moment, Said said.Last season, winger Ousmane Dembele caught the eye for Rennes.He also was shaped by the club, and the 19-year-old Dembele is now starring in the Bundesliga and the Champions League for Borussia Dortmund.Said has two league goals so far, but with this kind of finishing should get plenty more this season.The win moved Rennes up to fifth place ahead of next weekends trip to PSG.---MARSEILLE 0, BORDEAUX 0Despite the best efforts of winger Florian Thauvin, Marseille could not beat resilient Bordeaux.The 23-year-old Thauvin, on loan from English side Newcastle, has been in gd form.After going close in the first half, he almost won the game in injury time with a curling effort that goalkeeper Jerome Prior clawed away.Bordeaux is in ninth place, one place above Marseille. Wholesale Nike Shoes . Now tied for second in the league in shtout goals, the 24-year-old likes to see what the opposing goaltender has in store before he ultimately lands on a move. Cheap Air Max Wholesale .ca! Hi Kerry, Heres an interesting one. I know its common knowledge that all players are responsible for their sticks. We witnessed that when Zack Kassian hit Edmontons Sam Gagner in the face after a missed check. http://www.wholesaleairmax.us/ . Pence singled in the winning run with no outs in the ninth inning to give the Giants a 7-6 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday. Cheap Air Max For Sale . -- The bs poured down on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at the end of a horrible first half. Authentic Air Max Outlet . Thousands of fans at Mosaic Stadium will be cozying up to each other in an effort to stay warm in chilly temperatures and block the Prairie wind that locals say can knock your socks off. LAS VEGAS -- Five months after being awarded an NHL franchise, Las Vegas expansion team finally has a name. The Vegas Golden Knights will be the citys first major professional sports team when they begin play in the 2017-18 season.Golden Knights owner Bill Foley made the announcement, alongside NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and team general manager George McPhee, in front of a raucous crowd outside the recently constructed T-Mobile Arena, the teams new home, located just off the Las Vegas Strip.We now have an identity, Foley told ESPN.com just before the announcement. My whole idea was to create a logo and a name that was powerful that would epitomize the warrior class. The Knights are the epitome of the warrior class, the top of the line in terms of defending the realm, defending the unprotected. This is all part of the culture we want to create with the hockey team.The NHL announced that Las Vegas would be home to the leagues 31st team after a board of governors meeting in the city on June 22. Not only will the Golden Knights be the NHLs first expansion team since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild during the 2000-01 season, but they also will become the first of the four major North American professional sports leagues to have a team in Las Vegas.Foley said he went with Vegas instead of Las Vegas for the NHL team name because that is how most locals refer to the city.Jerseys for the Golden Knights will not be for sale until mid-February, at the earliest, Foley said. But other items, such as T-shirts, hats, sweatshirts, polo shirts, shorts and gym bags, were sold outside the arena shortly after the announcement was made on Tuesday night.I think the day upon which you begin to create the identity of a franchise is the day that fans can begin to have their emotional connection to the club, Bettman told ESPN.com. And while five months ago to the day we announced that the expansion was going to be a reality, I think today will mark it feeling real ... if youre a fan and you can get a T-shirt or a hat, this then begins to signify the beginning of fandom.Shortly after the name and logo for the Golden Knights was revealed outside of T-Mobile Arena, which rests just behind the Monte Carlo and New York-New York Hotel and Casino, hotels up and down the Strip were scheduled to reveal signs welcoming the Golden Knights tto Las Vegas.ddddddddddddhe team has already sold more than 14,000 season tickets and most of the luxury seats inside the 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena for next season. While Foley expects games to be popular destinations for traveling fans, he also believes that 85 percent to 90 percent of the crowds during the regular season will be made up of season-ticket holders.Foley, a graduate of the United States Military Academy, had originally wanted to call the team the Black Knights, after Armys athletic nickname, but he encountered some resistance. Foley was already the chairman of the board for Black Knight Financial Services and the lead investor in Black Knight Sports & Entertainment, the consortium he started along with the Malf family, which owns the team. He settled on three finalists: Golden Knights, Silver Knights and Desert Knights, before going with Golden Knights in August and working with Adidas on the logo, which was completed in late October.While the Golden Knights are about 11 months away from playing their first game, the team is slowly beginning to take shape. Foley hired McPhee to be the teams first general manager in July. McPhee was the Washington Capitals general manager from 1997 to 2014. Kerry Bubolz was hired as team president in October after 13 years with the?Cleveland Cavaliers?and the Quicken Loans Arena organization. And last month, the team broke ground on a state-of-the-art practice facility in Summerlin, Nevada -- a suburb located about 15 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and where the teams offices are located.The Golden Knights, which will be the eighth team in the Pacific Division and the 15th team in the Western Conference, will acquire their first players on June 21, when their selections from the expansion draft are announced. Las Vegas must select one player from each of the 30 existing teams. Two days later, the team will select their first rkies in the NHL draft. They are guaranteed to have no lower than the sixth overall pick in the draft and will own the third pick in each subsequent round.This whole process has really been a whirlwind, Foley said. Well be playing games before you know it.ESPN.com senior writer Scott Burnside contributed to this report. ' ' '

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