A heavy challenge on Fabio Pisacane and subsequent dissent meant that the striker’s substitute appearance was very short indeed
Mario Balotelli’s footballing weekend lasted less than 10 minutes after a lightning-quick double yellow card put an end to his cameo for Brescia.
But with Balotelli looking on the home side were struggling to pull ahead, with two goals from Ernesto Torregrossa cancelled out by Cagliari’s Joao Pedro, who hit his own double.
Balotelli entered the action minutes after Joao Pedro’s second from the penalty spot made it 2-2, replacing Alfredo Donnarumma.
It would prove, however, a brief afternoon for the ever-controversial forward, who managed just seven minutes on the field before seeing red.
Incensed by the referee’s call, Balotelli responded with a furious tirade at referee Antonio Giua, who in turn produced another yellow and gave him his marching orders.
Brescia were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw which leaves them rooted in relegation danger, with Lecce’s draw against Inter maintaining the one-point gap between the two clubs in 18th and 17th place respectively.
“It was an unfortunate incident, as we all thought the initial yellow card was harsh. He jumped for the ball and didn’t see the defender coming up behind him,” Brescia coach Eugenio Corini explained to Sky Sport Italia after the final whistle.
“It’s a pity, as we were down to 10 men for the final 10 minutes and were unable to count on the resource that is having Balotelli in the team.
“We brought home a point today, but had come so close to three.”
Corini also revealed that a bout of flu had caused Balotelli to miss out on a starting berth, following a week of disrupted training.
“We evaluated the situation and the last game. He didn’t train on Tuesday or Wednesday because he was unwell,” he added.
“Today we needed solidity, a certain level of fitness and intensity, so I preferred Alfredo Donnarumma, who knows Ernesto Torregrossa well from their time together last season.”
Sunday marked Balotelli’s 13th professional red card; and, along with Monaco‘s Jemerson, he is the only player in Europe’s top-five leagues to have been expelled in each of the last four seasons.