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Mario Balotelli sees red after seven minutes for insulting Serie A referee

Mario Balotelli earns a late red card in Brescia's 2-2 draw with Cagliari. Watch Serie A on ESPN+.
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Brescia striker Mario Balotelli has defended himself on Instagram after being sent off seven minutes after coming on as a substitute at the weekend, with the Italian handed a second yellow card for insulting a referee.

Balotelli's short-lived cameo came during Brescia's 2-2 draw against Cagliari on Sunday with the striker receiving a yellow card for a high challenge on Fabio Pisacane. Incensed by the decision, he was then shown a second yellow almost immediately after launching a tirade at referee Antonio Giua.

The Italian international has five goals in 15 appearances this season for the struggling side, but with this being the 13th red card of his career, Balotelli said isn't bothered by people judging him.

"It's incredible how one episode can always change a person's opinion from too negative or positive so drastically," Balotelli said on his Instagram story following his dismissal.

"I will continue with my work this time too, it's not a problem.

"You can continue to judge me as you wish."

The draw leaves Brescia, who are winless in their last five games in Serie A, one point from safety. Manager Eugenio Corini was left to rue Balotelli's absence as his side failed to find a winner.

"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," Corini said after the game.

"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."

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