Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Genoa Coppa Italia: an effort to be proud of

Grifone supporters can hold their heads high as Genoa put forth a stunning effort before losing 3-1 to Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia at San Siro.

With a number of changes to Gian Piero Gasperini’s normal lineup the task was great but through brilliant team play and a reaffirming effort by Alessio Scarpi, Genoa came within a whisper of overcoming the disadvantage of playing the majority of the match down a man. While I discourage the constant complaining of officiating, at the twentieth minute referee Gabriele Gava sent off Giuseppe Biava in a highly questionable call and pointed to the spot. While the location of the infraction certainly did not appear in the area, to pull out a red-card was a terribly unjust call and more of an black mark on the match. However in a hint of things to come, Adriano struck a well placed penalty attempt that Alessio Scarpi dove to the right to push the ball aside and keep the match level. With the man advantage, the Nerazzurri controlled the run of play and attacked with a ruthless vengence. Yet with each turn Alessio Scarpi, turned back the hands of time and was a young warrior saving the match, time after time. Statistics will tell you of specific shots saved in the most two dimensional terms but this was career performance for a man in the twilight of his career.

The deadlock was finally broken with when Adriano headed Maxwell’s cross into the back of the net. With the score now 1-0, things appeared bleak for the Grifone but in a tremendous personal effort Marco Rossi fought for the ball and thundered an unstoppable drive in to level the match at one. The match concluded in regulation without a further score but in extra-time, Inter Milan was able to score twice. Ten minutes after the restart Esteban Cambiasso poached on a rebound with Zlatan Ibrahimović making it 3-1 shortly thereafter.

Genoa returns to Serie A action against Lecce this weekend.