Football: Balotelli says sorry for red card and angry outburst at World Cup qualifier

ROME (Reuters) - Italy striker Mario Balotelli apologised for his red card and furious reaction in their World Cup qualifier away to the Czech Republic on Friday, with coach Cesare Prandelli telling him he must to get used to being provoked.

"Good morning. Yesterday my reaction was not the right one, I offer an apology," Balotelli wrote on his Twitter account.

"SORRY...to my team...I need to learn...still."

He was dismissed in the second half of the Group B match in Prague for a second bookable offence and reacted by smashing his fist against the wall as he entered the players' tunnel.

Television pictures also showed him kicking the wall.

Prandelli said the maverick striker, who has been relatively well-behaved since joining AC Milan from Manchester City in January, had to get used to provocation.

"He must understand that, like all great players, he will always be the target of provocation," Prandelli told the ANSA news agency. "If he passes that test, then he will have an edge against the opponent."

Unbeaten Italy have a four-point lead over Bulgaria in the group with the Czechs a further point back in third place.