SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 1 - 20 Sep 2020 (14.00 UK)
Genoa 4 - 1 Crotone
Destro 6 (G), Pandev 9 (G), Riviere 28 (C), Zappacosta 34 (G), Pjaca 75 (G)
Stadio Luigi Ferraris

Genoa ran riot against newly-promoted Crotone, as Davide Zappacosta and Marko Pjaca scored on their debuts, along with veterans Mattia Destro and Goran Pandev.

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The Squali made their Serie A comeback against a side that narrowly avoided relegation last season and, as usual, transformed both on the bench and in the transfer market with new coach Rolando Maran and numerous new players. Andrea Masiello and Francesco Cassata sat out bans for the hosts, with Domenico Criscito and Stefano Sturaro injured, so Davide Zappacosta, Milan Badelj and Miha Zajc were thrown straight into the starting XI. Crotone missed Giuseppe Cuomo, Guillaume Gigliotti and Ahmad Benali, adapting a 4-3-3 formation with Emmanuel Riviere and ex-Ajax defender Lisandro Magallan, but five of the starting XI were making their Serie A debuts.

Junior Messias forced the first save in the opening minute, but it was Genoa who broke the deadlock with Mattia Destro. Antonio Mazzotta failed to cut out a Goran Pandev pass, allowing Paolo Ghiglione to roll it across from the right for the Destro tap-in.

The Crotone defence was caught out again moments later, Magallan lagging back on the offside trap on a long ball over the top, so Pandev ran forward and placed a delicate chip over Alex Cordaz from 10 yards.

Simy tried to fight back, but his cushioned volley on a Salvatore Molina cross was too meek to surprise Mattia Perin, while Riviere blasted wide.

Destro could’ve made it 3-0 on 26 minutes, his spectacular right-foot curler bouncing off the crossbar.

Instead, Crotone got back into it, as Molina’s cross from the right found Riviere intelligently sliding in at the near post, anticipating Cristian Zapata.

Zappacosta got the third for Crotone, just days after arriving on loan from Chelsea. He skipped past Magallan, cut inside from the left and drilled a right-footed daisy-cutter into the near bottom corner from outside the box.

Simy again threatened for the visitors, his header off the far post from point-blank range on a long Luca Cigarini free kick.

Cordaz kept the scoreline down, sticking out a foot to parry from Ghiglione when sent clear by Milan Badelj.

It was quieter after the break, as Genoa sat on their lead, with Messias drilling wide, but once again the Grifone were simply more clinical with their chances.

Former Juventus winger Marko Pjaca scored within minutes of his debut, bursting down the right and placing a snooker shot of a right-foot finish past Cordaz, in off the inside of the far post.

Destro threatened a fifth, Cordaz palming it over from a tricky angle on a Pjaca assist.

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Genoa: Perin; Biraschi, Goldaniga, C Zapata; Ghiglione, Lerager (Melegoni 86), Badelj (Radovanovic 68), Zajc (Behrami 76), Zappacosta (Czyborra 76); Pandev (Pjaca 68), Destro
Crotone: Cordaz; Molina, Golemic, Magallan, Mazzotta (Rispoli 46); Zanellato (Eduardo 58), Cigarini (Gomelt 86), Marrone; Messias, Simy (Dragus 89), Riviere (Kargbo 58)
Ref: Ayroldi