Balotelli responds to Mourinho mark
Teenager scores in 3-1 Inter win after coach rated performance 'close to zero'.
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2009 20:24 GMT

Balotelli's gesture appeared to be aimed at abuse from the crowd [AFP]
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, 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.

Results & fixtures

Saturday November 21

 Bologna 1-3 Inter Milan
 Fiorentina v Parma

Sunday November 22

AC Milan v Cagliari
 Roma v Bari
 Livorno v Genoa
 Napoli v Lazio
 Palermo v Catania
 Sampdoria v Chievo
 Siena v Atalanta
 Juventus v Udinese

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.

Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.