Milan’s crisis continues, as they couldn’t do more than 1-1 against 10-man Genoa with another Mario Balotelli penalty saved.
Surprisingly, Genoa were four points ahead of their opponents going into San Siro, but had not won here since March 1958. The Rossoneri had scraped just two draws in four rounds and Riccardo Montolivo’s ban saw him join the injured Marco Amelia, Stephan El Shaarawy, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini, Antonio Nocerino and Cristian Zaccardo. Genoa were on three consecutive victories, though Juraj Kucka missed the trip.
Philippe Mexes pulled out in the warm-up, so Daniele Bonera was thrown into the starting XI. After a couple of minutes Mattia Perin made a hash of Sulley Muntari’s snapshot and somehow deflected it out for a corner.
It was only a warning, as moments later Kaka opened the scoring. He sprung the offside trap, hooked a Nigel De Jong ball over the top and placed the angled drive into the far bottom corner across Perin.
However, Genoa were awarded a penalty when Urby Emanuelson clattered into the back of Sime Vrsaljko. Alberto Gilardino confidently blasted the spot-kick over Christian Abbiati against his former club.
Mario Balotelli performed a spectacular overhead kick, but Perin was fortunate it was straight at him. Perin was caught in No Man’s Land, but Alessandro Matri fired over the open goal from a tight angle.
The Genoa goalkeeper was at full stretch with a fingertip save to turn Balotelli’s snooker shot inches past the far post.
The game changed when Tomas Manfredini clearly held Balotelli by the scruff of his neck as the striker was turning from six yards, leading to a penalty and red card. However, SuperMario stepped up and the very central effort was beaten away by Perin. Only one goalkeeper had previously denied a Balotelli penalty in his professional career and that was Napoli’s Pepe Reina earlier this season.
Matri missed an incredible chance before the break, as he turned a free header wide on a corner from six yards. There was more bad news, as Muntari got his studs stuck in the turf and was replaced by Valter Birsa after the restart.
Milan poured forward against a 10-man Genoa side who sat clammed up in defence, but Perin was equal to efforts from De Jong, Andrea Poli and fingertipped a Matri header out from under the bar. On the resulting corner, the young goalkeeper got down well to turn Kaka’s header round the base of the near post.
Perin, who has been linked with a future at Milan, also blocked a Balotelli attempt and was at full stretch to deny Birsa’s strike, then Kaka turned over the bar. Birsa somehow failed to score with a cushioned header that flashed across the face of goal to skim the far upright on Emanuelson’s cross.
With the last kick of the game, a corner came across to Cristian Zapata, who ballooned over the bar from close range.
Sent off: Manfredini 35 (G)
Saved penalty: Balotelli 36 (M)