Balotelli scores 2 before seeing red as City wins

Mario Balotelli scored twice before being sent off as Manchester

City beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday

to halt a three-match losing streak in all competitions.

Balotelli scored his first Premier League goal in the 20th

minute after combining with captain Carlos Tevez, who was back in

the team following his two-match injury layoff.

Six minutes later, the 20-year-old Italian striker fired into

the bottom corner of the net in front of Italy manager Cesare

Prandelli.

City had to play with 10 men from the 63rd after Balotelli was

red-carded following a tangle with Youssouf Mulumbu, who was

himself sent off in the 82nd for fouling Tevez.

With Arsenal losing 1-0 at home to Newcastle, the win put

fourth-placed City level on 20 points with the Gunners.

”We played football very well, all the team,” City manager

Roberto Mancini said. ”We scored two goals and we could have

scored another two. For us, Carlos is very important up

front.”

But West Brom started like a side that had beaten City on its

last four visits to The Hawthorns.

Chris Brunt ran on to a throughball from Marc-Antoine Fortune in

the opening minutes, with Kolo Toure making an interception which

almost resulted in an own goal.

Moments later, Brunt curled in a shot that Vincent Kompany

managed to block before City midfielder Nigel de Jong picked up a

yellow card for a blatant handball.

City started to impose itself and Balotelli tried to find Tevez

with a back heel and when he did claim possession, the Argentina

striker’s effort deflected wide.

The linkup play was more effective in the 20th minute, though,

as Balotelli put City ahead by sliding in to meet a cross from

Tevez, who had latched on to David Silva’s incisive pass.

Silva had a chance to double the lead soon after but saw his

attempt blocked by goalkeeper Scott Carson.

West Brom looked to respond and Brunt delivered a cross which

Fortune was just unable to get on the end of.

But Balotelli quickly found the target again. Silva was involved

once more, lofting a pass to the former Inter Milan forward who

finished firmly despite coming under pressure from Gabriel

Tamas.

The visitors almost increased their advantage from a free kick,

but Tevez struck on to the roof of Carson’s net.

City continued to press in the second half, with defender Jerome

Boateng finding himself in an unusually advanced position and just

beaten to the ball by Carson.

Simon Cox almost pulled one back for West Brom with a swerving

effort that hit the goal post.

Balotelli was about to be taken off before being sent off in an

increasingly tempestuous game.

”I am angry because I explained to him before the game – pay

attention with the referee,” Mancini said. ”I wanted to change

Adam Johnson for Mario, but I didn’t have time to make the

change.”

But City is considering appealing the red card so Balotelli

could be available for Wednesday’s derby against Manchester

United.

”I absolutely do not agree with the referee about this sending

off,” Mancini said. ”A red card for what? He played a fantastic

game, he scored two goals, but the sending off was very

strange.

”I want to know why it was a direct red card. For me this is

not correct and the referee must explain.”

The man advantage briefly roused the Baggies, with Shorey’s free

kick tipped over by Joe Hart.

But Mulumbu’s lunge on Tevez made him the third West Brom player

to be sent off this week, with two dismissed at Blackpool on

Monday.