Some other games were more high scoring, but Genoa-Roma carried some meaning for both teams, was end-to-end stuff for ninety plus minutes and also featured an insane ending.
The Rossoblù came into the match trying to nab their first W in six rounds, where they had lost four times, and thus avoid sliding too close to the fire, while Roma, who had prevailed in three of their previous four fixtures, were gunning for heavy points in the Champions League race.
Cesare Prandelli tilted his formation again, moving back to a four-man back-line with Davide Biraschi and Domenico Criscito as the fullbacks, Ivan Radovanovic and Miguel Veloso featuring together in the midfield and Gianluca Lapadula’s leading the front-line after last week’s goal, flanked by Daniel Bessa and Christian Kouame. Claudio Ranieri re-inserted Nicolò Zaniolo and Bryan Cristante in the XI after a one-game suspension and moved Lorenzo Pellegrini to the hole.
The locals had the upper hand early and threatened to score twice with Veloso, but Antonio Mirante tipped away a vicious free kick from angled position and a long-range attempt was just wide. The Giallorossi reacted in a big way, but Andrei Radu denied Federico Fazio’s surefire header with a stunning one-hand save, one of the best of the season.
Kouame bested Alessandro Florenzi and charged the box, but his cross-shot was so off the mark that almost turned into an assist for Lapadula, but the striker could not latch on for a tap-in. The Griffon kept trying from distance: the ex-Milan man grazed the post with a daisy cutter, while Radovanovic sent it just over the crossbar, while the guests had another chance on a corner kick, but Edin Dzeko too aimed just a little too high. A header by Lapadula on a cross had the same faith. Pellegrini joined the chance-wasting party with a half-volley and an incursion, but he missed the target on both occasions. The final one of the first half belonged to Cristian Romero, who coordinated for a flying deflection one meter away from the goal, but he was too wide to find a way to hit the net.
Zaniolo opened the dances after the break with a curled shot, but Radu again answered. The youngster comfortably caught also another header by Dzeko and almost own-goal by a teammate.
Ranieri subbed in Justin Kluivert and Patrik Schick and it paid off right away as the Dutch starlet sent in a pretty cross that Dzeko flicked on and Stephan El Shaarawy buried with a crafty lefty volley on the far post. Prandelli replied by sending Antonio Sanabria in for a midfielder, but the equalizer came from Romero, who somehow found room among four Roma players on a corner kick and beat Antonio Mirante.
Five minutes into the stoppage time, Kouame perfectly teed up Sanabria in the box and the goalie brought him down inside the six-yard box for an inevitable penalty, but the Paraguayan striker shot too weakly and too centrally and Mirante quickly redeemed himself and that was all she wrote.
Genoa stay beyond striking distance from Empoli since they have a four-point cushion, while Roma lost two to Atalanta and are now three away from the fourth place. In the fantasy game, El Shaarawy and Romero snatched four points for their goals, Dzeko and Veloso two for their assists.
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