Teenage forward Mario Balotelli responded to flak from coach Jose Mourinho by scoring to help Serie A leaders Inter Milan to a 3-1 win at Bologna.
|Balotelli's gesture appeared to be aimed at abuse from the crowd [AFP]
Balotelli, who was replaced by Samuel Eto'o at half time, headed in a corner in the 42nd minute after Bologna's Marcelo Zalayeta had cancelled out Diego Milito's opener for the champions.
Esteban Cambiasso drove home a diagonal strike in the 72nd to seal a win that gives Inter 32 points from 13 games, eight points more than second-placed Juventus, who can cut the deficit back down to five by beating Udinese at home on Sunday.
Balotelli has been criticised several times recently for his attitude by Mourinho, who gave the 19-year-old a mark of "close to zero" for his performance in Inter's 1-1 draw with Roma before the international break.
Balotelli celebrated his goal by raising his finger to his lips and commentators on Sky TV suggested reaction was probably in response to racist chants from a section of the home crowd.
Before scoring he wasted a glorious chance when his hesitation allowed Bologna goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano to close him down before he shot.
"We won well, without any problems, we deserved it," Mourinho told Sky.
"Mario had a normal first half. He missed one chance but he scored another," he said, adding that he brought him off to avoid the risk of a red card after he was booked.
Inter had bad luck with the score at 1-1 when a Dejan Stankovic strike hit one post and then the other before Viviano scrambled to the ball, while Milito rattled the crossbar before Cambiasso nailed their third goal.
They had full back Maicon sent off in stoppage time, apparently for dissent.
Fiorentina were playing Parma at home in the late match on Saturday, where a win would allow them to join Juve in second.