Belfast Telegraph

City lose Balotelli appeal

Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has lost his appeal against his three-match ban after being sent off against West Brom on Sunday.

The Football Association today upheld the straight red card that Balotelli was shown for a tangle with Youssouf Mulumbu.

An FA statement said: "At a Regulatory Commission hearing today, a claim that the standard punishment is clearly excessive from Manchester City's Mario Balotelli was dismissed. As a result, Balotelli will serve a three match suspension with immediate effect."

The decision means the 20-year-old Italy international will miss not only Wednesday's Manchester derby but also the visit of Birmingham and the subsequent trip to Fulham.

Asked if he was concerned about Balotelli's attitude, City boss Roberto Mancini said: "Mario is a young guy, a top player, sometimes he can make a mistake. That is normal.

"In the last game the punishment was too severe. I hope he can improve in all ways. When you are a young guy you must improve day by day. That is important."

Mancini leads his side into the first Manchester derby of the season on Wednesday hoping City will have learnt from three last-gasp defeats to rivals United last season. Sir Alex Ferguson's men have long made a habit of scoring late winning goals, the most recent of which came through Park Ji-sung in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Wolves.

"We have respect for them, we have respect for Ferguson because he is the top manager in the world," said the Italian. "But we are getting better. It will be a good game."

"In the last three of four derbies City have played at the same level as United but have lost late in the game. This season we are a different team.

"They are a strong team who are ready to play until the last second. They won against Wolves like that. They have a strong mentality because they have won a lot of trophies."


From Belfast Telegraph