Leagues, Mario Balotelli, Nice, Story, UEFA Champions League

Mario Balotelli scored against Ajax in last week’s game.

Nice will be without the injured Mario Balotelli as they try to get the better of Ajax and move a step closer to the Champions League group stage on Wednesday.

Balotelli, 26, scored the French club’s goal in their 1-1 draw at home to Ajax in last week’s third qualifying round first leg.

However, the striker, who recently signed a new deal with Nice, suffered a hamstring injury during the game, sidelining him for the return leg in Amsterdam and Saturday’s opening Ligue 1 game at St Etienne.

Balotelli’s place in the Nice squad, which is due to fly to the Netherlands on Tuesday for the Ajax game, has been taken by teenage striker Ignatius Kpene Ganago.

Balotelli joined Nice from Liverpool last summer and went on to score 17 goals for the club in his first season.

Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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