While it was expected that Balotelli will get some sticks from Inter fans during the derby for joining their rivals, but what started with boos ended up with sick and disgusting chants from the fans of the home side. But to Mario’s credit he handled the abuse with dignity and didn’t lose his cool.
A section of Inter fans held up dozens of inflatable bananas which was accompanied with vile chants like “Balotelli, you son of a w****”. There were placards and banners which were directed towards the former Inter striker, who played a crucial role during Inter’s treble winning season, with messages like “Balotelli you are just a poor man of s**t”.
But the way Mario reacted to this abuse was heartening to see. The 22-year-old, who has faced continuous racist abuse during his earlier stint at Italy, responded to these abuse and chants by placing finger on his mouth during the second half of the match.
AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri was pleased with the way Mario restrained his emotions and didn’t lose his head.
“I am happy with what Mario did.
“Let’s not forget he’s a 22-year-old lad who was playing against his old club where he grew up.
“He was brave because he didn’t react to any provocation and I am very pleased with him for that.” – Allegri was quoted in press after the match.
The incident did take the shine out of what was an exciting match, which ended with both the sides sharing the spoils. Milan wonder-kid El Shaarawy scored his 16th league goal to the season in the first half to give them the lead, but Ezequiel Schelotto scored the equalizer for Inter, just three minutes after coming on as a substitute in the second half.
Allegri was happy with his team’s performance despite letting Inter back into the match in the second half, although the Italian did rue the chances that his team missed to extend the lead and win the game.
“I am not angry. I’m happy with what the team did, an excellent first half with many scoring opportunities.
“Despite dropping a little in intensity after the break, we allowed little and Christian Abbiati made one good save.
“We should’ve controlled possession better to make Inter run after us, as we ended up doing things that we shouldn’t in a game like this.
“In the first half Inter couldn’t get near us and we should’ve been better with them being tired after the break, but we didn’t.
“Schelotto did well and it was good Yuto Nagatomo cross. We need to score goals when we get the opportunities, because we cannot expect to have the game in hand for the entire 90 minutes. We have to take our chances better.
“I think the team remains in good shape and this was an ‘away’ game against Inter. It’s a shame, as we should’ve won, but then we beat Udinese at the 92ndminute when we deserved a draw, so that is football.
“When a match is hanging by a thread, you have to kill it off. Possession is crucial when you are in control of a game, but we gave the ball away too many times tonight.
“I complimented the lads after the game, as they put in a good performance and the pressure to win was on Inter as the ‘home’ side, not us.” – Allegri was quoted in Sky Sport Italia.
Mario Balotelli missed few chances himself during the game, although he did bring out a fantastic save from Handanovic in with a thumping header. But it will be interesting to see whether Milan does raise an official complaint against the racist abuse that Balotelli suffered from during the match.