Proud papa: Balotelli scores as daughter watches in Napoli

Brescia's Mario Balotelli holds his daughter Pia wearing a Napoli soccer team jersey, as he enters the pitch prior to the start of the Italian Serie A soccer match between Napoli and Brescia at the San Paolo stadium in Naples, Italy, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. (Cesare Abbate/ANSA Via AP)

Mario Balotelli's first goal since rejoining the Italian league wasn't enough for Brescia to avoid a 2-1 defeat at Napoli

ROME — Playing before friends and family members may be the biggest inspiration for Mario Balotelli at this point in his nomadic and controversy-filled career.

Having signed with Brescia after three years away from the Italian league, Balotelli plays his home matches a stone's throw from the house that he grew up in.

And on Sunday, Balotelli carried Pia, his six-year-old daughter, onto the field with him before Brescia's match at Napoli as the players lined up for the Serie A anthem.

His daughter lives in Naples with her Neapolitan mother and was wearing a Napoli uniform.

The hosts took a 2-0 lead through Dries Mertens and Kostas Manolas before the break but Balotelli took advantage of his imposing physique to head in from a corner midway through the second half and make it interesting right until the end of Napoli's 2-1 win.

"Mario is a player that you all know," Brescia coach Eugenio Corini said. "He arrived with a lot of motivation and he really seems to be bonding with the squad. He's a great player and I'll always expect something extra from him."

Balotelli missed the opening four matches of the season due to a four-match ban carried over from when he was at Marseille in the French league. He came close to scoring in his Brescia debut, a loss to Juventus on Tuesday.

Bouncing back from a highly disappointing midweek loss to Cagliari, fourth-place Napoli moved within one point of third-place Atalanta.

"We cannot concede a goal that way and always make it complicated for ourselves," Mertens said.

Both sides also had goals disallowed by VAR.

Brescia is 14th.

OTHER RESULTS

Roma is fifth, one point behind Napoli, after Edin Dzeko's header earned the Giallorossi a 1-0 victory at Lecce.

Lazio is one point further back in sixth after routing Genoa 4-0 with goals from Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, ?tefan Radu, Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile.

Also, Udinese beat Bologna with a first-half strike from Stefano Okaka.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AndrewDampf

Related News

Young US archer Zach Garrett hits target on and off field

Aug 10, 2016

There's another showdown looming between well-known Americans in the men's archery tournament

Prince Fielder emotional as he ends career after surgeries

Aug 11, 2016

Prince Fielder says it will be tough not be able to play again after having to walk away from the game because of health issues after two cervical fusions in his neck

Top of the charts: Anthony now top scorer in US history

Aug 11, 2016

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points and became the leading scorer in U.S. Olympic history in Wednesday night's tough win over Australia

Sukan360 is a proud Malaysian Sports website enthusiastic in our local players and bring Malaysian sports news first and foremost.

Soccer Racing Shootings Golf Sports Governance Men's Sports Women's Sports Press Releases