Alberto Aquilani scored a hat-trick – and possibly a fourth – but Genoa still held Fiorentina to a spectacular 3-3 draw.
The Viola fumbled the chance to close within a point of third-placed Napoli and welcomed back Alessandro Matri from injury, having scored a brace on his debut. Giuseppe Rossi, Mario Gomez, Borja Valero, Nenad Tomovic, Anderson and the suspended Gonzalo Rodriguez were unavailable. Genoa threw Nicolas Burdisso straight into the starting XI with Paolo De Ceglie and ex-Fiorentina star Alberto Gilardino, but Juraj Kucka and Alessandro Gamberini missed out.
Genoa’s last Serie A victory at the Stadio Franchi was back in March 1977 and they had lost their most recent seven here on the trot. When they met earlier this season, Fiorentina left Marassi with a 5-2 result.
It was a sparkling start, as after three minutes Matri sprung the offside trap, but from a tight angle he was denied by a combination of Sebastian De Maio and Mattia Perin.
Juan Cuadrado turned on the turbo to keep a seemingly lost ball in play at the corner flag, then immediately dribbled past a defender to set up a scoring opportunity. At the other end Facundo Roncaglia crucially stood his ground to charge down Gilardino’s effort from a Moussa Konate through ball.
Manuel Pasqual’s half-volley was deflected over the bar by a brave Luca Antonini and Matri had another attempt wide.
There was controversy when Luca Antonelli ran on to a Gilardino assist and was at the by-line when he fell over Neto’s shoulder. There did not appear to be a foul, but the referee awarded a penalty that Gilardino fired into the top corner, giving Genoa a surprise lead. It also ended Fiorentina’s run of five consecutive clean sheets.
Moments later the referee awarded a soft spot-kick at the other end, as De Maio tugged Massimo Ambrosini by the shoulder. Alberto Aquilani sent Perin the wrong way to draw level.
Fiorentina were still celebrating when Genoa restored their advantage in a frantic period of the match. Francelino Matuzalem won back possession and a lucky ricochet sent Antonini through, where he kept his cool to place an angled drive across Neto. The replays suggest he was offside, assuming of course Matuzalem got the last touch.
Fiorentina equalised again before half-time with a chaotic move. Joaquin kept the ball in play and crossed for Ambrosini, who couldn’t turn between three defenders but protected it for Aquilani to drill low from 12 yards.
Straight after the restart Cuadrado’s scorching shot was deflected just over the bar off De Maio’s back. From the resulting corner Stefan Savic nodded on for Aquilani’s header at the back post, but the goal was ruled offside in an extremely tight decision.
Nicolas Burdisso charged down another Cuadrado shot in the box, but moments later it was almost Genoa 3-2 in front when Konate’s glancing header bounced off the inside of the far post and back out to safety.
Aquilani did get his first career hat-trick eventually, as Joaquin pounced on a defensive error and his through ball sent the ex-Roma midfielder clear for a powerful angled drive. Burdisso dived in to block, but only managed to deflect it beyond Perin.
Aquilani set up another chance for Matri, who got the ball stuck under his feet. The hat-trick hero was given a standing ovation, making way for ex-Manchester United midfielder Anderson’s debut wearing the ‘Andow’ shirt.
Adrian Stoian’s audacious shot from 30 metres dipped just over the bar and a Mati Fernandez strike was deflected out for a corner.
Genoa had been in front twice, but now fought back to draw 3-3 when a corner was whipped in and Neto hesitated, allowing De Maio to prod in from six yards. It was the 23-year-old defender’s first Serie A goal.
It was far from over, as Anderson knocked down a ball for Mati Fernandez to volley over and Pasqual couldn’t keep his finish on target. In stoppages a Joaquin cross flashed just over the head of Ryder Matos and Facundo Roncaglia's snapshot curled inches past the post.