Genoa snatched a late and hard-fought 2-1 win over Bologna when Lucas Pratto broke his Serie A duck.
Alberto Malesani came face to face with his former club, who he rescued from relegation last season. He went into this game with pressure building after a home defeat to Inter, while Rodrigo Palacio, Valter Birsa, Cesare Bovo, Juraj Kucka and Antonelli were injured. Bologna missed the suspended Diego Perez.
Gaston Ramirez had the first real chance when he was allowed to run from the centre-circle through the entire Genoa defence, his angled drive eventually scraping a coat of paint off the base of the far post.
Emiliano Moretti also threatened at the other end, forcing Jean-Francois Gillet to parry with an outstretched foot. It was a wide open game, Nico Pulzetti’s fierce mid-height snapshot whistling across the face of goal, then moments later Sebastien Frey’s palms were stung by a powerful Ramirez screamer.
The goalkeepers were kept very busy in a thrilling encounter, as Ze Eduardo pounced on an Andrea Raggi error in the six-yard box, forcing a desperate save out of Gillet from point-blank range. Gillet again used his legs to parry a Marco Rossi strike from the edge of the area.
Genoa took the lead on 39 minutes with Rossi, though much of the credit goes to Lucas Pratto, who sprung the offside trap and waltzed round the goalkeeper to roll across for the tap-in.
Bologna had the chance to equalise before the break when Alessandro Diamanti set up Marco Di Vaio, but the veteran lost his balance to horribly scuff the finish.
The Rossoblu did draw level straight after the restart with a well-worked deadball situation. Diamanti chipped a free kick for Di Vaio’s inspired backheel flick, setting up Ramirez for the low strike from eight yards.
Di Vaio thought he had scored when he went on the counter and the angled drive beat Frey, but it cracked against the base of the far post!
Henry Gimenez exchanged passes with Di Vaio, but Frey was at full stretch to flap the finish off the line.
Genoa escaped that danger and moments later restored their advantage with Pratto’s first Serie A goal. Andrea Caracciolo held off Daniele Portanova and knocked down a cross that Pratto wasted no time in lashing home from the edge of the box.