City plan appeal against Balotelli red

Balotelli eased some of the pressure on his manager and fellow

Italian by netting two goals in the first half which eventually

proved enough to halt City’s run of three successive defeats. But

the 20-year-old’s afternoon turned sour after the break as he

received a yellow card for a challenge on Marek Cech and was then

given his marching orders within minutes following a tangle with

Youssouf Mulumbu – who was also dismissed late on for scything down

Carlos Tevez. The straight red card shown to Balotelli left Mancini

enraged and demanding an explanation from referee Lee Probert. “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.” City will be pursuing the matter

further, with Mancini rejecting suggestions that the player may

have kicked out at Mulumbu. Balotelli has a reputation for being a

fiery character, though, and Mancini conceded that having had a

chat with the striker before the game about keeping calm, he had

been about to withdraw him from an increasingly tempestuous game

when the sending-off occurred. “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.” Prior to that, Balotelli – in front of

watching Italy boss Cesare Prandelli – had notched his first

Premier League goals by combining well with David Silva and City

captain Tevez, who was back in the side after his two-match injury

lay-off in Argentina. It was a typically influential display from

the skipper as Mancini’s side recovered from their recent struggles

to go level on points with third-placed Arsenal, three behind

Manchester United – their opponents in the forthcoming derby at

Eastlands on Wednesday – and five behind leaders Chelsea. “We

played a fantastic game – we played football very well, all the

team,” Mancini said. “We scored two goals and we could have scored

another two. For us, Carlos is very important up front. I am very

happy with the result.” West Brom have now picked up three red

cards in a week, after they were reduced to nine men at Blackpool

on Monday. While Pablo Ibanez’s was rescinded following an appeal,

Roberto Di Matteo had no complaints about the decision to send

Gonzalo Jara off in that match and was similarly accepting that

Mulumbu deserved to go here – although he also felt there was

nothing wrong with Balotelli’s dismissal. “I think the referee was

in a good position on the (Balotelli) sending-off,” Di Matteo said.

“My player wasn’t happy with the challenge and the official was

there. “In terms of the second one, for my player, I think there

was no doubt about it.” The defeat was Albion’s first at home in

the league since January and Di Matteo believes his side were

beaten by a squad of players – with City able to name the likes of

James Milner, Emmanuel Adebayor and Johnson as substitutes today –

who can still challenge for the title. “I think they definitely are

(contenders), if you look at the amount of quality players they

have,” he said. “I don’t know if you noticed the bench they had

today – the players that can come on and change a game, and the

ones they have on the pitch already.” West Brom have now picked up

three red cards in a week, after they were reduced to nine men at

Blackpool on Monday. While Pablo Ibanez’s was rescinded following

an appeal, Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo had no complaints about

the decision to send Gonzalo Jara off in that match and was

similarly accepting that Mulumbu deserved to go today – although he

also felt there was nothing wrong with Balotelli’s dismissal. “I

think the referee was in a good position on the (Balotelli)

sending-off,” Di Matteo said. “My player wasn’t happy with the

challenge and the official was there. “In terms of the second one,

for my player, I think there was no doubt about it.” The defeat was

Albion’s first at home in the league since January and Di Matteo

believes his side were beaten by a squad of players – with City

able to name the likes of James Milner, Emmanuel Adebayor and

Johnson as substitutes today – who can still challenge for the

title. “I think they definitely are (contenders), if you look at

the amount of quality players they have,” he said. “I don’t know if

you noticed the bench they had today – the players that can come on

and change a game, and the ones they have on the pitch already.”