Flying start for Balotelli as £24m new boy comes on to hit winner


IF MARIO Balotelli’s debut is a taster for the rest of his Manchester City career, Eastlands fans are in for an eventful time.

The £24m new boy climbed off the bench to score the winner before squaring up to the Timisoara captain, earning a yellow card and then picking up an injury that left him heavily strapped and limping. Not bad for a 33-minute cameo.

Balotelli, 20, was making his first appearance since a move from Inter Milan and turned home in the 72nd minute after Emmanuel Adebayor drilled across the face of goal.

It was enough to earn City the advantage ahead of next week’s return leg in Manchester, and the Premier League side will be strong favourites to eliminate the Romanians.

After a slow start Roberto Mancini’s men gradually took control and Yaya Toure almost put them ahead when his 20-yard shot thumped the bar.