Bonucci prevents Balotelli controversy

Jun 20, 2012, 07:54 IST | AFP

Mario Balotelli came off the bench to score the second goal in Italy's 2-0 win over Ireland and open his account at the European Championships here

But the lasting image of his moment in the limelight was his reaction to the goal.

A sequence of pictures showing Italy’s Leonardo Bonucci (right) gagging goalscorer Mario Balotelli 

 Balotelli started to shout something in the general direction of his own bench. Leonardo Bonucci immediately grabbed the 21-year-old in a celebratory hug and thrust his hand over Balotelli’s mouth. Bonucci said: “What he said he said in English and I didn’t understand it.

I put my hand in front because Mario is instinctive and that’s also his strength.” Thanks to the Juventus centre-back’s quick thinking, it wasn’t clear who was the target of Balotelli’s ire.

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