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Balotelli must face ban for 'kicking Parker in head', rages Redknapp

MARIO Balotelli could be hit with a four-game suspension after Harry Redknapp urged the FA to take action against the Manchester City forward for "kicking Scott Parker in the head" during Tottenham's 3-2 defeat.

Balotelli claimed victory for City at the Etihad Stadium by scoring a penalty three minutes into stoppage time.

But having escaped punishment from referee Howard Webb for appearing to stamp on Spurs midfielder Parker's head in the 84th minute, 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."

Having failed to take action at the time, the referee will be asked for his observations by the FA this morning and Balotelli could be charged with violent conduct if the referee admits he would have dismissed the player had he seen it.

With Balotelli having already served a suspension for a dismissal at Liverpool earlier this season, he could have an additional game added to any suspension -- typically three matches -- for violent conduct if charged and found guilty.

City's assistant manager, David Platt claimed that television replays could yet spare Balotelli.

"I haven't seen any replays, so I can't comment. I never saw anything live. What we are aware of is that different TV angles can show different things," he said.

City defender Joleon Lescott could face a similar probe after he appeared to elbow Spurs defender Younes Kaboul in the face.

Redknapp admitted that Tottenham face an uphill struggle to win their first title since 1961.

"It's going to be hard to win the title. All I've ever said is we have got a chance and you saw today that we are genuine contenders. We are not a million miles behind City or anyone else," said Redknapp.

Platt played down the significance of City's victory. "One game doesn't win it and I don't think we have put any extra pressure on Manchester United.

"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." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent