English Premiership

Balotelli pays price for gaffe

2011-07-25 13:20
Mario Balotelli (File)

Carson - Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli paid the price for attempting to score with an audacious trick shot against the LA Galaxy when he was immediately withdrawn from Sunday's friendly by manager Roberto Mancini after just 30 minutes.

VIDEO: Mario Balotelli's backheel fail

The controversial Italian, who scored the first goal of the match from the penalty spot, attempted an outrageous pirouette and backheel that dribbled harmlessly wide after he was put clean through with only the goalkeeper to beat.

A furious Mancini immediately signalled for substitute James Milner to replace Balotelli, who confronted the coach before taking his seat on the bench.

"I think that we need to always be professional, always serious and for me in that case, Mario wasn't and for this I changed him," Mancini told reporters.

"To take him off the pitch after 30 minutes is punishment enough for him. In football, you should be serious always. If you have a chance to score, you score.

"For me, it's finished now. I hope that he learns an important lesson.

"I don't think it's easy to leave the pitch after 30 minutes, but if one player has good behavior, plays for the team, plays strong, plays serious... they can stay on the pitch for 90 minutes. If not, they can come with me on the bench."

The volatile Balotelli has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons including multiple red cards and incidents off the field during his first season with Manchester City.

His latest misdemeanour is reminiscent of UAE player Theyab Awana, whose backheeled spot kick against Lebanon last week was watched by millions on YouTube but attracted negative headlines after accusations he had displayed a lack of respect.

Awana, who was sent on as a replacement, was also withdrawn immediately after he cheekily scored from the spot late on in the 7-2 friendly win.

"Everybody's seen it, it wasn't a great action and the coach took a decision to take him off. That's a decision that's been made and that's a statement that the group is behind him," City midfielder Nigel de Jong said.

"If you get in front of the goal you have to score. He knows that as well. I hope he learns from this moment and that we continue to be stronger as a group."

City went on to win on penalties after the match ended 1-1 in normal time.

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