‘Supermario’: Hero to zero at San Siro
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been given a three-match ban for his sending-off at the end of Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat by Napoli, the Italian league said in a statement on Monday. Balotelli, who missed a penalty and scored a late goal in the game, was given a second yellow card after the final whistle for arguing with match officials.sports Updated: Sep 24, 2013 03:18 IST
AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been given a three-match ban for his sending-off at the end of Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat by Napoli, the Italian league said in a statement on Monday. Balotelli, who missed a penalty and scored a late goal in the game, was given a second yellow card after the final whistle for arguing with match officials.
In addition to the automatic one-match ban, he was given an additional two games for “directing insulting and intimidating expressions to the referee at the time of the sending-off,” said the league in a statement.
AC Milan were also ordered to partially close the San Siro stadium for their next home game because of insulting chants by their fans aimed at Napoli supporters.
The disciplinary tribunals said the chanting “expressed discrimination based on their territorial origin”.
Earlier, Balotelli missed a penalty for the first time in his career as AC Milan slumped to defeat at home. Balotelli, who had converted all 21 of his previous penalties in official matches, watched his run come to an end when Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina dived low to his right to keep out his effort just after the hour.
AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli (in white shorts) argues after being shown the red card at the end of the Serie A loss to Napoli on Sunday. Getty Images
In a typically eventful performance, “Supermario” was also booked, hit the crossbar, had another penalty appeal turned down and brought the game to life with a brilliant stoppage time goal.
The defeat, Milan’s first at home in the league since November and their first at home to Napoli since April 1986, left the hosts with a miserly four points from four games.
Napoli, who have won all four Serie A games so far this season, went ahead in the sixth minute through Miguel Britos and Gonzalo Higuain made it 2-0 with a low shot which slipped through Christian Abbiati’s hands in the 53rd minute.
Injury-hit Milan produced another disjointed performance though came close to reducing the arrears when Balotelli was fouled in the area, only for Reina to save the penalty.