Those who follow Genoa know that in the fifteen consecutive years in Serie A the championship in which the Rossoblu team is at greatest risk of relegation to Serie B is the one currently underway, but also that only in those between 2007/2008 and 2010 / 2011 and between 2013/2014 and 2015/2016 (in total seven) the problem of obtaining salvation did not arise. Hence, this is the sixth consecutive league in which the team struggles spasmodically not to lose the top flight they won in late spring 2007.
In the last period, the championship in which salvation was obtained more calmly was that of 2017/2018 and the one, instead, more for the “broken cap” the next, in which salvation came for better “ranking detached in clashes direct »at Empoli’s expense, paired with 38 points, that is one more than Genoa will be able to add if they manage to win all five of the last matches of the current championship! Empoli at the end of the fifth last day was seven points behind Genoa, which would have remained so if, after the victory at home in the provincial derby in the “Lunch Match” with Fiorentina 1-0, in the afternoon the attacker Paraguayan of the rossoblùs Arnaldo Antonio “Tonny” Sanabria Ayala had not let a penalty kick be rejected by the Roma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante, who denied him the joy of a 2-1 comeback victory (the Giallorossi had gone ahead with a goal by the Italian of Egyptian origin Stephan «the Pharaoh» El Shaarawy in the 36th minute of the second half, they had been equalized by the Argentine Cristian Gabriel «el Cuti» Romero nine minutes later and had been saved by their goalkeeper in the 50th minute! ) and, instead, it became only one after the 1-2 defeat of Claudio Cesare Prandelli’s team in the Saturday advance in Reggio nell’Emilia (it was played at the “MAPEI Stadium / Stadio del Tricolore” for the renovation of the Bergamo stadium) against Atalanta and the “not unexpected” 2-1 victory of Aurelio Andreazzoli’s blues against Sampdoria the following day.
Genoa, which had not had the support of thousands of its fans in the aforementioned home match against Roma and in the previous one “within friendly walls” (lost 0-1 against Turin), who had given up, despite the subscriptions subscribed, crossing the gates of the “Luigi Ferraris” in protest against the corporate management of the president Enrico “The Joker” Preziosi, he found him again, given that in a meeting on the evening of Thursday 16 May at the Chiamata del Porto, two thirds of the supporters I supported the return to “Luigi Ferraris” to help the team that hadn’t won in eight matches. Empoli’s comeback had alarmed not only Genoa, but also other teams such as Udinese and Parma, which had respectively 37 and 38 points, Cagliari, Fiorentina (the last two opponents of the Vecchio Grifone) and the Bologna, tied at 40. With the disadvantage of having had their own match scheduled the day before that of Empoli, which would have triumphantly won 4-1 at home against Torino, even if motivated by the search for a qualification for the Europa League , Prandelli’s men had to beat those of Rolando «Rolly» Maran sr., who were looking for the point that would give them salvation, because it would keep the opponents of the day four points away, an unbridgeable gap with only one day to play. The state of prostration in which the Genoa fans fell after the difficult draw of their team on Saturday and the resounding victory of Empoli in the afternoon of the following day was mitigated in the evening by the home success of other Azzurri – the Neapolitan ones – with the same result – in expenses of the Internazionale – of the “paricromatica” Tuscan team, which on the last day would have found themselves having to face the Neroazzurri very motivated to obtain the victory in order not to leave the fourth position and the consequent last place available for the Champions League 2019/2020 at the Rossoneri “cousins”, who were only one point behind. With a “goalless” draw at the “Artemio Franchi” of Florence against the Viola, Genoa was able to recapture Empoli, defeated 1-2 in Milan, in seventeenth place, condemning the rivals to relegation for having won both the “direct clashes”: in practice, the penalty kick converted by Domenico “Mimmo” Criscito in the 44th minute of the second half against Cagliari was the goal that prevented Genoa from the ninth descent in its history from Serie A to Serie B.
The initial half hour of the match was in favor of Genoa, who tried to take the lead and then “ignite” the cheering in the stands, in which they had gathered, also thanks to the lowering of prices (the ticket for Gradinata Sud cost 5 euros, that of Distinti 10), twenty-three thousand spectators. Before – on 26 ‘- Fabrizio «the Hunter» Cacciatore risked the own goal with a backward left touch to anticipate the Italian-Brazilian Daniel Bessa Sartori, who had had a problematic stop on a deep pass by the North Macedonian Goran « Pandevmonio »Pandev, thwarted by a deviation in diving with the right hand of the goalkeeper Alessio« the Cragno Man »Cragno, who granted the« encore »three minutes later on an angled but weak low shot from Pandev’s left inside. Cagliari reacted after the two escaped dangers by creating as many between 36 ‘and 40’ with the former Genoa center-forward, Leonardo “Pavo-goal” Pavoletti, who first was denied the joy of the net after winning, on the launch in depth of the Croatian Darijo Srna, of force the physical duel with the German with Turkish citizenship (due to the origins of his family) Koray Günter, collapsed to the ground, and passed perpendicular to the left post and at the height of the entrance to the area the Romanian goalkeeper Ionut Andrei Radu with a lob from a right winger three meters from the goal line of Davide «Biro» Biraschi and then savoring it (it was his fiftieth goal – one in Sassuolo, twenty-three in Genoa and twenty-six in Cagliari – in Serie A), without exulting out of respect for his old fans of the Northern Gradinata above, when, on the right-footed diagonal of about fifty meters by the Croatian Filip Bradarić, he stopped the ball from the chest and, with his back to the goal, with Günter who incredibly went to the outside instead of closing the firing line for him, fired in an undisturbed way of right inside from ten meters to half height near the left post.
At the beginning of the second half, Genoa returned with a more offensive tactical attitude (adopting the “form” of 4-3-1-2) determined by the entry into the field of the Ivorian striker Christian Michael Kouakou “the Gazelle” Kouamé in place of the right side of midfield, the Portuguese Pedro Miguel de Almeida Lopes Pereira “Pedro Pereira” (Pandev retreated to “attacking midfielder”), but in the first forty-two minutes he produced only a potentially dangerous action with the substitute African striker, a conclusion of which “a sure hit “, when on 17 ‘he had taken possession of the ball in a scrum on a corner kick, he was rejected on the back by a teammate, risking, instead, the collapse in the 39’, when a free kick” a spiovere “with a left footed by the Slovenian Valter Birsa at twenty-two meters from the baseline was deflected by head from seven meters by Filippo Romagna, who had had the better of the aerial take-off on Kouamé and” miraculously “deflected s he operates the crossbar with his right hand extended up by Radu in a back pike dive. At 42 ‘a ball crossed from the left from the left “three quarters” by Criscito was grazed by Romagna in the “heart” of the penalty area and deflected with the right forearm – instinctively, but guilty – widened by Bradarić between the arms of Cragno. The Genoa players vehemently protested, but the referee Paolo Valeri (the referee of today’s match) of Rome, badly positioned (about fifteen meters from the place of the “crime”) did not detect the irregularity, making the game. Referred to the “on-field-review” by his fellow citizen VAR referee Federico La Penna, the Capitoline match director awarded the maximum punishment to Genoa. While the “ghost” of the penalty kick thrown towards that goal and failed was manifested in the minds of Genoa fans who were not “at first hair”, as it was saved by Ivano “the angel of Berlin” Bordon, by Roberto “o’Rei of Crocefieschi »Pruzzo on Sunday 30 April 1978 against the Internazionale in the final minutes of the penultimate matchday of Serie A, which had cost him relegation, Criscito convinced Sanabria Ayala not to seek revenge with respect to the error of thirteen days before against Roma and approached with confidence at the serve, which was impeccable (left angled shot about thirty centimeters from the ground on the right of Cragno, who dived on the other side). In the continuation of the meeting, Giuseppe Pezzella, who took over from an exhausted Biraschi for eleven minutes, was shown the red card at 48 ‘, which left the hosts in ten men, for a senseless intervention “with feet together” on Niccolò “the transistor radio »Barella.
Genoa, Saturday 18 May 2018, “Luigi Ferraris” Stadium, 6.00 pm
Genoa 1-1 Cagliari [Anticipo della XXXVII giornata del Campionato Italiano 2018/2019]
Referee: Valeri (Rome); VAR Referee: The Pen [Roma]
Spectators: About 23 thousand
Markers: in the 1st half at 40 ‘Pavoletti (C); in the 2nd half at 44 ‘Criscito (G) on a penalty
Genoa (3-5-2): 97 IA Radu; 14 Biraschi (from 37 ‘of the 2nd quarter: 13 Gi. Pezzella), 3 Günter, 87 Zukanović; 32 Pedro Pereira (from 1 ” of the 2nd quarter: 11 Kouamé), 24 Bessa, 21 Radovanović, 44 Miguel Veloso, 4 Criscito; 19 Pandev, 10 Lapadula (from 29 ‘of the 2nd T .: 9 Sanabria). Coach: Prandelli.
Cagliari (3-5-2): 28 Cragno; 33 Srna, 19 Pisacane, 15 Klavan; 12 Cacciatore (from 30 ‘of Q2: 56 Romagna), 3 Lu. Pellegrini, 18 Barella, 6 Bradarić, 21 Ionita; 9 Cerri (from 35 ‘of 2nd T .: 14 Birsa), 30 Pavoletti (from 21’ of 2nd T .: 10 João Pedro). Coach: Maran sr ..
Notes: at the meeting, for the entrance to which the ticket prices are heavily reduced (€ 5 for the South Steps and € 10 for the Distinti) from Genoa, the supporters of the North Steps assists again (which met two evenings before at the Call del Porto to deliberate on the matter) to support the team in a dramatic moment of the Championship, despite the protest against the management of Genoa (inside the “Luigi Ferraris” no club banners and flags are hung and in the North Gradinata the PRZIOSI INFAME banner is displayed); Cacciatore had played in Chievo defeated 0-2 away from Genoa on Wednesday 26 September 2019 and had played his last match, which ended at 1-1, with the Veronese team in Parma on Sunday 9 December 2018; after scoring the goal of the provisional advantage of Cagliari, Pavoletti, having played for Genoa in 2015 and 2016, does not rejoice as a sign of respect towards the rossoblù fans; the penalty kick in favor of Genoa, which with its transformation will reach a draw, not recognized by the referee (there was a touch with Bradarić’s right forearm) is granted after signaling the VAR and consulting the monitor on board of the field; sent off in the 48th minute of the 2nd T. Gi. Pezzella (G).
(member of the Historical Scientific Committee of the Genoa History Museum)