Sunday, 22 January 2012

Harry Redknapp: Mario Balotelli deserved red card for Parker stamp


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Tottenham Hotspur's Scott Parker receives treatment after the alleged stamp by Manchester City's Mario Balotelli. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
• Italian striker appeared to stamp on Scott Parker
• Balotelli was already on a yellow card at the time

The Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, has accused Manchester City's match-winner Mario Balotelli of kicking Scott Parker in the head during their Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium.
The Italian striker came off the bench in the second half to provide both controversy and heroics, as his late penalty secured a 3-2 home win for the league frontrunners. Redknapp accepted that Ledley King had fouled Balotelli in the penalty area in stoppage time, to give away the decisive spot-kick, but insisted the City player should not have been on the pitch to decide the game.
Balotelli, already on a yellow card, appeared lucky to escape at least the same punishment again when his studs made contact with the head of Parker, who had thrown himself in front of the Italian's shot.
"It looked like a penalty, I've not seen a replay – but the boy who scored the penalty shouldn't have been on the pitch," Redknapp said. "He kicked Scott Parker in the head. He does it a lot, he backheeled him in the face and cut his head. No one can make excuses that he didn't do it, anyone can see he did do it."
Redknapp was delighted with his team's performance in defeat – and was frustrated they did not win when Gareth Bale's stoppage-time cross was met by the sliding Jermain Defoe, who poked the ball wide.
"We had a great chance when Gareth laid it across to Jermain, we were all up on our seats thinking it was 3-2," he said. "It proves we're as good as anyone. They weren't better than us today but they nicked it in the 94th minute. We had a bad two or three minutes and conceded the two goals but we showed great character to come back and I could see us winning from there."
The three points lift City eight clear of third-placed Spurs but the midfielder James Milner admitted that his side had let Tottenham back into the game. "It's massive, we knew how big a game it was," Milner said. "They've been playing really well and they had the incentive with how we played at their place [winning 5-1 in August].
"It was an exciting game for the neutral but we'd like it a bit more boring next time. We took our foot off the gas, gave them one sloppy goal and they're a good team, if you give them a sniff it gives them the momentum to go on. We were well on top, scored the two goals and probably should have controlled the game better than we did."
Balotelli said he felt no nerves as he stepped up for the match-winning spot-kick. "Nothing," he said. "I was calm, like every time I take a penalty."
The Guardian

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