Ref­eree ad­mits er­ror in giv­ing Balotelli red card

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

MARIO Balotelli is un­likely to serve a sus­pen­sion for his red card in Nice’s vic­tory over Lori­ent af­ter the ref­eree ad­mit­ted that he made an er­ror in dis­miss­ing the Italy in­ter­na­tional.

Balotelli, 26, had fired home a spec­tac­u­lar 86th-minute goal, his fifth in three league games, to set Nice en route to a 2-1 vic­tory that would take them back to the top of the Ligue 1 ta­ble.

But he then tan­gled with the vis­i­tors’ Steven Mor­eira deep into added time.

Balotelli, who was ear­lier booked for re­mov­ing his shirt dur­ing his goal cel­e­bra­tion, ini­tially looked as if he had made con­tact with Mor­eira’s head, and was shown another yel­low card by ref­eree Olivier Thual and con­se­quently the first red card of his ca­reer in France.

The dis­missal meant Balotelli would have been sus­pended for Nice’s next league game against Lyon.

But af­ter re­view­ing the in­ci­dent, Thual, 40, has changed his mind, ac­cord­ing to ref­er­ees’ tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor Pas­cal Garib­ian.

“Olivier Thual has watched the match. Of course he agreed the two yel­low cards [for Balotelli and Mor­eira] were shown hastily and should not have been given,” Garib­ian said. “The ref­eree is at the dis­po­si­tion of the Dis­ci­plinary Com­mis­sion to say it of­fi­cially. It will be up to them to de­cide on what ac­tion should then be taken.”

The French Foot­ball League’s Dis­ci­plinary Com­mis­sion will meet on Thurs­day to dis­cuss the mat­ter.

Af­ter the game, Nice coach Lu­cien Favre said he strug­gled to un­der­stand the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion.

“Hon­estly, from the dugout, I did not un­der­stand at all what hap­pened,” he said.

“It seems Mario did noth­ing, no bad ges­ture. I only saw it again on a small screen. I’ll have to look at it calmly and see what hap­pened, if some­thing did hap­pen.”

Mean­while, Mario Balotelli has said he told Liver­pool man­ager Jur­gen Klopp he will not be see­ing him again at the end of their one and only con­ver­sa­tion on Mersey­side.

Balotelli has picked up his form since mov­ing to Nice from Liver­pool this sum­mer, af­ter fail­ing to make an im­pact at An­field fol­low­ing a £16 mil­lion trans­fer from AC Mi­lan in 2014.

“Klopp doesn’t know me,” Balotelli, who re­turned to Liver­pool in the sum­mer af­ter a loan spell at Mi­lan, told Sky Sport Italia. “I was with him at Liver­pool for one month and a half and I spoke with him just once. He told me that I could stay, but that I wasn’t first choice.

“He said he felt it was bet­ter if I went to play some­where else to play well and then go back be­cause he wanted me as a player. I ar­rived and told him he would never see me again.

“Liver­pool and AC Mi­lan just weren’t right for me. I never made any mis­takes in terms of my be­hav­iour, there were just in­juries and God de­cides them, I have

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