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Mancini: Balotelli gamble paid off

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted he took a gamble by using Mario Balotelli as a lone striker in the FA Cup victory against Aston Villa. Balotelli produced his usual unpredictable performance at Eastlands, scoring a brilliant goal, suffering an injury, getting booked and acting as peacemaker in a 3-0 win that earned the Blues a quarter-final meeting with Reading on March 13. It means the Italian now has 10 goals from his 18 City games, eight bookings and a red card. Little wonder no-one can be quite sure what the temperamental 20-year-old is going to do next. But Mancini is happy he took the responsibility anyway.

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