Miguel Veloso left it very late to snatch a victory over Novara, as Genoa played with 10 men for the entire second half.
The Rossoblu hadn’t stepped on to the field since October 30, as their game with Inter was postponed due to floods. The pressure was on Alberto Malesani with just five points from six rounds. Novara were in far worse shape, dropping into penultimate place after two goals in their last five games and not a single clean sheet all season.
The visitors were still without Samir Ujkani, Andrea Lisuzzo, Takayuki Morimoto, Massimo Paci and the suspended Filippo Porcari, so the defence was revamped. Raffaele Rubino was given his Serie A debut and the chance to set a record, having scored for Novara in three different Divisions already. Genoa only lacked Ze Eduardo and banned Kakha Kaladze.
Kevin Constant’s angled drive flashed across the face of goal to scrape the back post in the opening 120 seconds. At the other end, Sebastien Frey was tested by a Marco Rigoni low volley from the edge of the box.
Rodrigo Palacio’s cross whipped across the goal with an Andrea Caracciolo deflection, but Marco Rossi was inches away from getting the final touch at the back post.
Genoa horribly wasted as three players sprung the offside trap, but Antonelli fired straight at the goalkeeper rather than roll across to Palacio and Caracciolo. Rubino nearly set that scoring record with a diving header that flashed Riccardo Meggiorini’s cross inches past the far post.
There was a turning point before the break, as Andrea Mazzarani sprung the offside trap and went clear on goal, tripped by Antonelli for an inevitable red card, reducing Genoa to 10 men.
The Rossoblu did get the ball in the net at the dawn of the second half, but Granqvist was offside when latching on to a parried Caracciolo attempt. Despite being a man down, Genoa poured forward with chances for Palacio and Giandomenico Mesto.
However, Novara risked taking the lead when Rubino’s diving header from a corner looped up off Rigoni’s knee and thumped the crossbar. Rubino went close with another header, while Sebastien Frey clumsily parried a Rigoni free kick with his chest.
There was a bizarre moment in the final minutes, as Novara also went down to 10 men. Meggiorini was booked and then shown a second yellow immediately after for insulting the referee, but the player insisted he had been hurling abuse at his teammate instead.
Rigoni went very close to giving Novara the victory, but moments later Miguel Veloso scored at the other end instead. He found space outside the box and unleashed a low strike that went through the gap in the defence to slot into the near bottom corner. Mario Alberto Fontana was so furious that he repeatedly kicked the upright.
Sent off: Antonelli 43 (G), Meggiorini 81 (N)