A spectacular last-gasp Iuri Medeiros strike gave Genoa the hard-fought victory over unlucky Cagliari to break away from the drop zone.
This fixture was originally set for March 4, but was rescheduled after the sudden death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori.
It was a battle between sides not entirely safe from the drop and whose recent form was seeing them slide back into the danger zone. The Grifone were forced into many changes, as Adel Taarabt and Andrea Bertolacci sat out bans with Armando Izzo, Miguel Veloso and Andrej Galabinov injured. They were fresh from a 1-1 draw with 10-man SPAL, but Cagliari were crushed 4-0 on home turf by Torino at the weekend. Luca Cigarini and suspended Joao Pedro were still on the sidelines.
Linesmen are supposed to hesitate if in doubt on offside decisions so VAR can be used, but the flag was raised to halt Gianluca Lapadula incorrectly as he was clear on goal in the opening eight minutes.
Lapadula surged forward again and spotted Alessio Cragno off his line, but the shot from a good 30 metres was just wide.
Leonardo Pavoletti had his best years at Genoa and almost scored against his former club, his daisy-cutter denied by a spectacular one-handed low save from Mattia Perin.
The hosts were awarded a penalty when Aleandro Rosi ran on to a Lapadula through ball and went down in a sandwich between two defenders. It came just days after a very dubious spot-kick was given to Genoa against SPAL and the referee went to view the footage on VAR, but technical problems meant they were all left waiting for four minutes until Maresca ruled it was not a spot-kick. In fact, Rosi seemed to slide into Lykogiannis rather than the other way round.
Cagliari goalkeeper Alessio Cragno hesitated on his clearance, so Lapadula dived into the tackle, wiping him out in the process.
Genoa did take the lead after the restart, when Oscar Hiljemark whipped in a cross from the right and found Lapadula for a precise free header from six yards.
The referee pointed to the spot when Paolo Faragò went down in the box, but replays suggest he was just leaning on Ervin Zukanovic, who got out of the way. Nonetheless, this time Maresca did not opt to view the incident again and Cagliari were able to convert the penalty with a powerful Niccolò Barella finish.
Pavoletti was again very unlucky not to find the net at his old hunting ground, as he hung in the air for what seemed like an age only to see his header bounce off the far post.
Just as it seemed to be going towards a stalemate, Genoa snatched victory with a stunning strike from Iuri Medeiros. He controlled a difficult ball on the edge of the box and curled it like a remote-controlled rocket into the far bottom corner.
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