Balotelli at the double

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Mario Balotelli scored twice as he made a surprise appearance for Manchester City's Under-21 side in a friendly against Blackburn.

The controversial Italian might even have claimed a hat-trick, but passed up the opportunity to take any of City's two penalties in the modest surroundings of City's academy base at Platt Lane.

Balotelli returned to first-team action after an absence of five games, four of them due to a virus, as a substitute in Saturday's 3-0 FA Cup win over Watford at the Etihad Stadium. He had been involved in a training-ground bust-up with manager Roberto Mancini just two days earlier but the City boss, who was photographed grappling with the player, described the incident as "nothing".

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Manchester City
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Mario Balotelli
FA Cup
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