Balotelli hit with FA charge

MANCHESTER CITY striker Mario Balotelli could miss tomorrow’s Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Liverpool and three crucial Premier League games after he was charged with violent conduct by the Football Association for appearing to stamp on Tottenham’s Scott Parker.

The Italian striker, who won and converted the decisive penalty in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Spurs just eight minutes after committing the alleged offence which referee Howard Webb failed to spot at the time, has until tomorrow evening to respond to the charge.

Should Balotelli decide to appeal he will be available for tomorrow’s clash at Anfield, in which City will be looking to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit, with a hearing likely to take place later this week.

An acceptance of the charge, however, will see the 21-year-old miss out tomorrow and will prevent him from playing in league matches against Everton, Fulham and Aston Villa.

Meanwhile, Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who scored and then came within a whisker of winning Sunday’s epic Premier League summit meeting, insists his side remain in the title frame despite the agonising nature of their defeat.

“We will keep going. We have got some big games coming up – games that we can get points from. We’ll be fine,” said Defoe, whose side now trail league leaders City by eight points.

“There are not many teams that can come to Manchester City and get points or perform like we did.

“It was a tough game but we really performed, so there are a lot of positives we can take.”