If you will allow me this brief interlude, as Genoa undertook their mission against Juventus it was with the dark pall of loss felt through L’Aquila this week. While I relish the opportunity to tell you of the Rossoblu's success, the loss of so many must first be understood as any discussion of Serie A this week must start with remembrance to this horrible event. To talk of Football, of wins and losses if a foolish one if we are not to first join in prayer for those who perished in this disaster.
In your youth, this game is simply a sport of clubs, allegiances, successes and failures. Yet as time wears on and years turn into decade after decade of experiences you learn this game is about far more. It is often called the world's most popular game but rarely is it considered how it makes the world a smaller place, where we learn of each other through the sport. The Beautiful Game is not, I hate to tell you, the story of magical play but of the magic that comes with the game. The bonding of friendships, the ending of old foes and even the promise of a better tomorrow as we become better people.
While dating myself I have known that story well through decades within the sport. I have seen war-torn areas and the impoverished lifted up through it but more importantly anger and hatred washed away. That is the story of the Beautiful Game, the simple round ball of equal sides where we are the same.
So I ask you, young and old, whether you are a fan of Serie A or a casual reader who has found this commentary by-chance to please put the people in this tragedy in your prayers and help were possible.
Genoa's dreams of Champions League appearance took a massive leap forward with a resounding 3-2 triumph over Juventus at Stadio Luigi Ferraris. The victory, clearly the Rossoblu's finest effort in the new year, pushes Gian Piero Gasperini's side to within four points of AC Milan and maintains their advantage of Fiorentina.
With Diego Milito out once again, Gian Piero Gasperini looked towards Serbian international Boško Janković to form an attacking trident with Giuseppe Sculli and the rapidly growing genius of Raffaele Palladino. Genoa, so timid over the last few months came out with a vengeance, determined and billowing with a new-found youthful confidence. Quickly attacking, Genoa narrowly missed taking the lead seven minutes in with Raffaele Palladino effort coming within a whisper of crossing the line before being cleared. Quickly thereafter a fortuitous offside call erased a Juventus mark that many would debate. However a minute shy of the half-hour Thiago Motta slotted the ball in from edge of the area giving Genoa the 1-0 lead. Juve, as expected, was ripe with venom and wasn't up to give up three points so easily and came storming back. Just before the break the match was leveled as a dubious penalty call on Matteo Ferrari resulted in the spot being pointed to. Erroneous or not, 10 Alessandro Del Piero stepped-up and quickly deposited the ball into the net to bring the match even at one. The non-stop pace continued as deep into injury-time, possibly too "deep" for many time-keepers, Ivan Jurić's corner was sent in by Thiago Motta for his second of the day. After the break, Juve seemed to a great bite to their advances with Vincenzo Iaquinta and Pavel Nedved a constant nuisance. After a number of the visitors efforts were foiled, Genoa looked to have sealed the match off with seventeen minutes remaining as Ivan Jurić's corner found Boško Janković but the former ex-Crvena zvezda man saw his effort bounce off the woodwork. Finally with six minutes remaining Czech great Pavel Nedved navigated through Genoa defenders before providing the ball to Vincenzo Iaquinta with a perfect finish to make it 2-2. A hushed silence gripped Stadio Luigi Ferraris as three remarkable points seemed to slip from their hands yet the stage was now set for the days heroics. With the ball played forward to Marco Rossi the humble captain drifted to the right before providing the ball to Raffaele Palladino for a clinical finish behind Gigi as the Genova flags unfurled with the 3-2 victory.