Mario Balotelli scores on Marseille debut in loss to Lille that was delayed by firecracker

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Lille won 2-1 at Marseille in a match delayed for around 40 minutes after a firecracker was thrown on to the pitch.

Lille, second in the Ligue 1 table, were leading 1-0 through Nicolas Pepe’s penalty in first-half injury time when the object landed on the playing area in the 56th minute.

It exploded just in front of Marseille players Kevin Strootman and Jordan Amavi, who both seemed visibly shaken by the incident. Referee Amaury Delerue took the players back to the dressing room and they did not emerge again for around 40 minutes.

When the match resumed, a red card for home forward Florian Thauvin did little to improve the atmosphere inside the Stade Velodrome. Thauvin was sent off after 67 minutes for a foul on Youssouf Kone.

Pepe scored his second goal of the game in injury time to seal the win for Lille but there was still time for new signing Mario Balotelli, on as a second-half substitute, to mark his Marseille debut with a goal by heading in a Strootman cross.

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