Nice were three-up by half time with goals from Pléa on 17 and 21 minutes and Bonfim Dante on 29 minutes.
Zulte Waregem pulled one back 2 minutes into the second half through Leye Iseka. However this was never going to be enough.
Goals from Saint-Maximin on 70 minutes and Balotelli on 75 minutes made for a final score of 5-1 in Nice’s favour. Zulte Waregem’s second group stage match is in two weeks’ time away to the Italian side Lazio.