It was a thrilling start to Genoa-Atalanta as both sides were on target in the opening eight minutes, but the 1-1 draw means the Grifone are sliding towards Serie B.
The Rossoblu were increasingly desperate after falling into joint penultimate place with Palermo, while they had to do without the suspended Marco Borriello and Juan Manuel Vargas. Marco Rossi and Ruben Olivera were also injured, prompting a radical reshuffle including a four-man defence. Atalanta had German Denis, Carlos Carmona and Cristian Raimondi banned, plus Riccardo Cazzola, Igor Budan, Franco Brienza, Giampaolo Bellini and Guido Marilungo sidelined.
Atalanta hadn’t conquered Marassi since a Serie B visit in September 2003 and it took just six minutes for them to fall behind.
Francelino Matuzalem floated a long free kick on to the head of Antonio Floro Flores, who cushioned the finish across Andrea Consigli from the back post.
Moments later there was almost an equaliser, as Sebastien Frey flew to palm away Stefano Lucchini’s header from a Luca Cigarini set piece. From that corner, it came to the edge of the box where Cristiano Del Grosso hit a fierce strike with the outside of his left boot into the far bottom corner.
Bosko Jankovic had the ball in the back of the net, although only after the offside flag had been correctly raised, while Floro Flores was harshly booked for simulation when there appeared to be some contact in midfield with Davide Biondini.
Juraj Kucka flicked on a cross that Floro Flores tried to steer with his back to goal, but Consigli was ready for it at the near post.
Within 18 seconds of the restart, Livaja had jumped with his elbow on Thomas Manfredini to earn a yellow card and crank up the tension. Moments later, Jankovic’s volley flashed across the face of goal to skim the upright.
Cigarini robbed Kucka and drilled wide of the near stick, while Coach Stefano Colantuono was sent off for his protests after 57 minutes.
Lucchini’s interception was crucial to stop a through ball sending Ciro Immobile clear on goal and an Andreas Granqvist header was too weak to trouble Consigli.
Genoa had a fantastic opportunity on 72 minutes, as Luigi Giorgi was on the post for a goalline clearance from a corner, then Bertolacci flashed the follow-up across the face of goal to shave the far post.
Guglielmo Stendardo’s acrobatic clearance was again decisive in preventing Luca Antonelli from latching on to the cross from nine yards, then a Kucka shot was charged down in the box. Consigli took the sting out of Matuzalem’s strike, but Genoa poured forward with little effectiveness. In stoppages Kucka's header was on to Lucchini's shoulder from point-blank range, so penalty appeals were waved away.