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Mario Balotelli booed by Manchester City fans as he clashes with team-mates after stumble

Cracking up: Balotelli booed by his own fans as he clashes with team-mates after City stumble

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UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 31 March 2012

Mario Balotelli fell out with Manchester City’s fans and his own team-mates yesterday as the club’s title challenge looked to be on the verge of cracking up.

The 21-year-old Italian bad-boy was booed by all four sections of the Etihad Stadium as he tussled with team-mate Aleksandar Kolarov over who should take a free-kick midway through the second-half with City trailing 3-1 to Sunderland.

Falling out: Mario Balotelli clashes with Aleksandar Kolarov

Falling out: Mario Balotelli clashes with
Aleksandar Kolarov

Balotelli grabbed Kolarov and tried to wrestle the ball from him. But he was shoved back by the Serbian and then dragged away by Vincent Kompany and Nigel de Jong.

At the final whistle, the Italian, who was criticised by manager Roberto Mancini despite scoring twice in City’s 3-3 draw, petulantly stormed off the pitch without shaking hands or looking at anyone.

Bad day at the office: Balotelli stormed off after the final whistle

Bad day at the office: Balotelli stormed off after the final whistle

Mancini, who last week admitted he could ‘never trust’ the striker, said: ‘I let Mario and Ale [Kolarov] decide who takes free-kicks in that position. These things can happen but it is the last time.

‘Mario didn’t play well. We need our strikers like him and [Edin] Dzeko to make the difference, not wait until the last few minutes.’

At a loss: City look disconsolate after Nicklas Bendtner put Sunderland 2-1 up just before half-time

At a loss: City look disconsolate after Nicklas Bendtner put Sunderland 2-1 up just before half-time

The result left Mancini’s team two points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United.

If Sir Alex Ferguson’s men beat Blackburn Rovers on Monday night, the gap will widen to five points – and it could be up to eight by the time City kick off their next game against Arsenal next Sunday evening.

Aggrieved: Roberto Mancini talks to referee Phil Dowd about what he perceived to be a lack of injury-time

Aggrieved: Roberto Mancini talks to referee Phil Dowd about what he perceived to be a lack of injury-time

Balotelli, signed by Mancini for 24million in August 2010, embarrassed and angered City’s manager last week by flying to Milan and hijacking a press conference at his former club Inter.

That was just the latest in a series of escapades that have dogged Balotelli’s career at City and now, it seems, the fans may finally be tiring of his unpredictable antics.

On the spot: Balotelli made no mistake with this penalty

On the spot: Balotelli made no mistake with this penalty

City fought back to draw the game with two goals in the final six minutes, Balotelli scoring one of them to add to his earlier penalty. A mystery foot injury to Sergio Aguero meant Mancini’s strike options were limited and the manager admitted that he might otherwise have substituted Balotelli and strike partner Dzeko early on against Sunderland.

‘We only had Carlos Tevez on the bench,’ said Mancini. ‘But in the end he [Balotelli] scored two goals.’

Carlos Tevez: Five reason why Manchester City fans should welcome him back

Remember me Five reasons why City fans should welcome Tevez back with open arms

For nearly half-a-year, sorry seemed to be the hardest word for Carlos Tevez.

But after finally apologising for refusing to warm up in a Champions League game at Bayern Munich last September, the Manchester City striker is aiming to kick-start his career at the Etihad Stadium.

For those wondering whether the former Manchester United and West Ham star is worth the hassle, Sportsmail has put together a video special of his five finest moments in a City shirt.

Low profile: Tevez has returned to training and could play again for City soon

Low profile: Tevez has returned to training and could play again for City soon

Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United (Jan 2010)

This was Tevez's first season at the Etihad Stadium since moving from United, and the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final came off the back of a thrilling but controversial 4-3 derby loss for City earlier in the campaign at Old Trafford.

The hosts went a goal down to a Ryan Giggs tap-in early on but City, and Tevez especially, hit back.

The Argentine netted an equalising penalty before heading home from close range to secure the win. Sadly for City, United would lose the battle but win the war by winning the second leg 3-1.

Chelsea 2-4 Manchester City (February 2010)

A game that centred around Wayne Bridge and John Terry not shaking hands before the match but it was Tevez that stole the show.

The striker equalised in first half injury time when he ended a tricky run by squeezing a weak shot into the bottom corner.

The 26-year-old then doubled his tally in the 76th minute when he slotted home a penalty to hand City a 3-1 lead and eventually a famous win at Stamford Bridge against a Blues side who would go on to win the double.

Manchester City 3-0 Wigan (March 2010)

Not his first hat-trick in a City shirt, that came two months earlier against Blackburn in a 4-1 win, but arguably his most devastating.

After going down to 10 men earlier in the game, the Latics were just 18 minutes away from holding out for a goalless draw.

Just 12 minutes later they were dead and buried with the Argentine netting in the 72nd, 74th and 84th minute to ensure he was taking home three points for his side and the match ball.

Manchester City 1-0 Stoke (May 2011)

An injury in a 3-0 defeat at Liverpool a month earlier had already ruled Tevez out of the FA Cup semi-final with Manchester United, but the striker won his race to be fit for the final at Wembley.

Despite not scoring, Tevez was a handful all game for the Potters in his first start since returning to the side. His two years of talismanic displays on the pitch finally went rewarded when he lifted City’s first major trophy since 1969.

Manchester City 2-0 Stoke (May 2011)

Three days after the final, the Potters visited the Etihad Stadium where they were taken apart by Tevez at his best.

His first goal after 14 minutes, after a one-two with James Milner, was impressive enough but it was his second strike that will go down in memory.

A stunning curling free-kick into the top corner from 30 yards is to date his last goal for the club and after being substituted on 88 minutes he was given a standing ovation.

He has much making up to do if he will ever get another one at the Etihad Stadium.

Luis Suarez apologises over Patrice Evra

Suarez says sorry! Liverpool striker admits he should have accepted Evra's hand

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has apologised for not shaking hands with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra before Saturday's Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford.

The Uruguayan, who was banned for eight matches after racially abusing Evra during the league game between the sides at Anfield in October, had been expected to shake hands with the Frenchman but failed to do so, causing an angry reaction from Evra.

Suarez has now said sorry for his actions and Reds boss Kenny Dalglish also apologised on Sunday for his conduct in the post-match interview.

Snubbed: Patrice Evra grabs Luis Suarez after the Liverpool striker ignores him

Snubbed: Patrice Evra grabs Luis Suarez after the Liverpool striker ignores him

Anger: Evra is bristling as referee Phil Dowd (right) steps forward

Anger: Evra is bristling as referee Phil Dowd (right) steps forward

Flashpoint: Luis Suarez refused to shake Patrice Evra's hand

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Dalglish was quizzed by Geoff Shreeves about Suarez's snub and almost lost his temper with the Sky reporter.

Dalglish claimed he did not know Suarez refused the handshake.

The Scot has been criticised for defending his player in the aftermath of the race row that stretches back to last October but Dalglish and Suarez have now shown some remorse over the latest incidents.

'I have spoken with the manager (Kenny Dalglish) since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong,' Suarez said in a statement on the Liverpool official website.

'I've not only let him down, but also the club and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.

'I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions.

'I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football.'

Praise me: Evra (right) made a point of celebrating wildly at the final whistle

Praise me: Evra (right) made a point of celebrating wildly at the final whistle

Calm down: Evra is restrained by referee Phil Dowd after the match

Calm down: Evra is restrained by referee Phil Dowd after the match

Heart on his sleeve: Evra was clearly delighted with United's win

Heart on his sleeve: Evra was clearly delighted with United's win

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Dalglish said: 'Ian Ayre has made the club's position absolutely clear and it is right that Luis Suarez has now apologised for what happened at Old Trafford.

'To be honest, I was shocked to hear that the player had not shaken hands having been told earlier in the week that he would do.

'But as Ian said earlier, all of us have a responsibility to represent this Club in a fit and proper manner and that applies equally to me as Liverpool manager.

'When I went on TV after yesterday's game I hadn't seen what had happened, but I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I'd like to apologise for that.'

Under scrutiny: Dalglish has apologised for his post-match reaction

Under scrutiny: Kenny Dalglish has apologised for his post-match reaction

Rio Ferdinand delivered a snub of his own when he refused to shake Suarez's hand but later claimed Evra had gone too far with his post-match celebrations.

The Frenchman reacted exuberantly at the final whistle, appearing to goad Suarez with his actions.

And Ferdinand tweeted: 'I'm sure Patrice Evra will feel that
his celebrations at the end were maybe a bit much….emotions etc
probably got the better of him…'

In a separate statement, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said the club was misled by Suarez.

'We are extremely disappointed Luis Suarez did not shake hands with Patrice Evra before yesterday's game,' he said. 'The player had told us beforehand that he would, but then chose not to do so.

Claim: Dalglish was under the impression Suarez would shake hands

Claim: Dalglish was under the impression Suarez would shake hands

'He was wrong to mislead us and wrong
not to offer his hand to Patrice Evra. He has not only let himself
down, but also Kenny Dalglish, his teammates and the club. It has been
made absolutely clear to Luis Suarez that his behaviour was not
acceptable.

'Luis Suarez
has now apologised for his actions which was the right thing to do.
However, all of us have a duty to behave in a responsible manner and we
hope that he now understands what is expected of anyone representing
Liverpool Football Club.'

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson described Suarez as 'a disgrace' and suggested he should never play for Liverpool again while Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor branded the player's conduct 'disrespectful, inappropriate and embarrassing'.

Taylor added: 'If anything, Patrice Evra was the victim and he was prepared to put his hand out.

'These players are expected to be role models but if we have a situation where nobody accepts the findings of hearings and just carries on regardless, all you get is anarchy.

Out of line: Suarez thumps the ball into the crowd at half time at Old Trafford

Out of line: Suarez thumps the ball into the crowd at half time at Old Trafford

Hot head: Suarez appeared to be fired up as Liverpool lost at Old Trafford

Hot head: Suarez appeared to be fired up as Liverpool lost at Old Trafford

'Now the Football Association have to step in because the whole situation has gone too far.

'Suarez had a chance to put everything to be yesterday, in front of a worldwide audience. The fact that he chose not to is, quite frankly, depressing.'

The pre-match incident set the tome for a fiery encounter at Old Trafford and players from both teams were involved in a melee in teh tunnel at half-time.

Suarez scored for Liverpool – after a Wayne Rooney double – but the match was overshadowed by the handshake incident just before kick-off.

Suarez also booted the ball into the crowd and complained to referee Phil Dowd that Ferdinand should have been penalised for a challenge on the Reds forward. Replays showed the defender got the ball.

Having already defended his man in a flash TV interview, Dalglish opted not to make himself available for further discussion on the matter.

Long-time friend Alan Hansen did not say on Match of the Day whether he had spoken to Dalglish prior to transmission.

What's going on Evra complains that Suarez refused to shake his hand

What's going on Evra complains that Suarez refused to shake his hand

However, his own observation was withering in its condemnation.

'Liverpool FC made a statement that there would be a handshake,' he said.

'Luis Suarez was party to the statement. He knew about it and obviously agreed with it. To snub Patrice Evra was, in my view, totally unacceptable.

'The football club and the manager have given him total and unequivocal support through thick and thin.

'He has let Kenny Dalglish down, the club down and himself down.'