Premier League - Mancini hauls off Balotelli

Sun, 24 Jul 22:16:00 2011

Controversial striker Mario Balotelli was taken off in disgrace just past the half-hour mark of Manchester City's pre-season friendly against the LA Galaxy.

Premier League - Balotelli taken off

The Italian striker was put clear through on goal in the 28th minute after a lovely City team move but instead of just blasting the ball into the net he inexplicably tried to score with a spinning backheel which went wide of the target.

The crowd inside the Home Depot Centre booed the disrespectful action, and City boss Roberto Mancini immediately called for James Milner to warm up.

At the next opportunity, Mancini took off Balotelli and then remonstrated with the player on the sideline only for Balotelli to try and protest his innocence before storming off to the end of the bench in a huff.

Moments later he was caught on camera slamming a water bottle to the ground in disgust. Balotelli did not emerge from the dressing room in the second-half.

"I hope this is a lesson for him. In football you always need to be professional, always serious, and he wasn’t." said Mancini after the game.

"He needs to understand his behaviour has to be good in every game – not just in a final or a semi-final"

Balotelli had given City the lead against David Beckham's side from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after Micah Richards had been taken down in the box.

Galaxy levelled the match in the 53rd minute when Brian Magee smashed home a fantastic half-volley from 30 yards out and even had the better chances to win the match with Joe Hart having to make a number of smart stops including a point blank effort from Todd Dunivant.

Hart then stepped up to score the winning penalty as City won 7-6 on spot-kicks after the game had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.



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