Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli faces four-game ban as Spurs call for action
MARIO Balotelli could be hit with a four-game suspension after Harry Redknapp urged the English FA to take action against the Manchester City forward for ‘kicking Scott Parker in the head’ during Tottenham’s 3-2 defeat.
Balotelli, a second-half replacement for Edin Dzeko, claimed victory for City at the Etihad Stadium by scoring a penalty three minutes into stoppage time after being fouled by Tottenham captain Ledley King.
But having escaped punishment from referee Howard Webb for appearing to stamp on Spurs midfielder Parker’s head on 84 minutes, Redknapp’s anger centred on the fact that Balotelli was still on the pitch to play such a central role in his team’s defeat, which leaves Tottenham eight points adrift of leaders City.
“I’m sure they [FA] will look at it,” Redknapp said. “They must do, mustn’t they? It’s not the first time he’s done that is it and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
“The first [stamp] could be an accident, but the second one? He’s back-heeled him straight in the head. I don’t like talking about people kicking players in the head, but when you see that, it’s wrong. It’s blatantly obvious.
“Whether he gets sent off or whatever, it’s wrong and I don’t like seeing people react like that to a challenge.
“Scott made a good block. He [Balotelli] reacts like that at times to challenges, but Scott now has a lovely cut on his head. I don’t see any reason. What reason did he have to kick Scott in the head with his studs while he is lying on the floor?
“It’s not something I understand. How you can back-heel somebody in the head when they are lying on the floor? “It’s not a nice thing to do and it has no place in football.”
Having failed to take action at the time, World Cup final referee Webb will be asked for his observations by the FA on Monday morning and Balotelli could be charged with violent conduct if the referee admits he would have dismissed the Italian had he seen the incident.
With Balotelli having already served a suspension for a dismissal at Liverpool earlier this season, the 21 year-old could have an additional game added to any suspension — typically three matches — for violent conduct if charged and found guilty.
City continue to harbour grievances against the FA after losing captain Vincent Kompany to a four-game ban earlier this month following an unsuccessful appeal against a red card against Manchester United.
And assistant manager David Platt, speaking in place of Roberto Mancini due to the manager “losing his voice” during the game, claimed that television replays could yet spare Balotelli.
Platt said: “I haven’t seen any replays, so I can’t really comment. I never saw anything live and there was nothing from the players either.
"What we are aware of, from the last month, is that different TV angles can show different things.”
With City awaiting the FA’s verdict on Balotelli, concerns will also be raised by the possibility of Joleon Lescott facing a similar probe after appearing to elbow Spurs defender Younes Kaboul in the face in the 75thminute.
The Balotelli incident, the latest controversy surrounding the former Inter Milan forward, overshadowed a pulsating game which saw Spurs fight back from 2-0 down to equalise before almost scoring a winner through Jermain Defoe in stoppage time.
Balotelli’s penalty secured City’s victory and consolidated top spot, leaving Redknapp admitting that Tottenham now face a battle to win their first title since 1961.
He said: “It’s going to be hard to win the title. All I’ve ever said is that we have got a chance and I think you saw today that we are genuine contenders.
“There’s not much between the teams, we are not a million miles behind City or anyone else. We are a good team in our own right.
“That’s all I ever said. It’s difficult now, there are lots of points between us, but we just have to keep going and see where it takes us.”
Platt, a title winner with Arsenal in 1998, attempted to play down the significance of City’s victory, however.
He said: “It is open. One game doesn’t win it and I don’t think we have put any extra pressure on Manchester United. The pressure was on them to take maximum points [at Arsenal] anyway, as it is with all the teams at the top.
“If you slip up, then things tighten up on you. People will talk about Tottenham being out of the title race now but that is not the case.
“There are plenty of games and plenty of head-to-heads that can still swing it. It was a great victory for us but it is three points, no more.”