Adrian Mutu scored a sensational brace to give Cesena another surprise victory over troubled Genoa.
The midweek scraped 3-2 Coppa Italia victory in extra time over Bari turned up the pressure on Genoa boss Alberto Malesani. He had to get a good result against the bottom of the table team, even though Cesena finally got their first win of the season. Antonelli and Lauro sat out bans, joining Abdel Ghezzal, Jorge Martinez, Giuseppe Colucci, Antonio Candreva and Meza Colli on the treatment table.
Genoa surprisingly reshuffled to a 3-5-2 system, placing Marco Rossi on the left. They had penalty appeals for a possible Benalouane handling offence in the box, though it might’ve hit his chest first.
Sebastien Frey was at full stretch to beat away Rafael Martinho’s long-range snapshot, but at the other end Francesco Antonioli was wide awake to sprint off his line and smother at Rodrigo Palacio’s feet following a defensive error.
The 42-year-old goalkeeper was again called into action with a great save on Alexander Merkel’s wonderful flick and volley from the D that was flying under the bar.
Straight after the restart, Adrian Mutu tested his former Fiorentina teammate Frey with a rising shot from the edge of the box that the Frenchman soared to palm away.
Dominique Malonga also forced Frey into a difficult save when he ran on to a deflected pass and smashed the angled drive at the near post, stinging the goalkeeper’s palms.
At the other end, Cesena somehow managed to avoid going 1-0 down, as a combination of Gianluca Comotto’s goalline clearance and a deflection into the arms of Antonioli stopped Palacio tapping in from point-blank range. Comotto’s bravery earned him an injury and he had to be replaced.
Palacio made an entirely avoidable mistake when he was booked for kicking the ball into the net long after he was flagged offside. The striker will now be suspended for the game with Milan.
The referee pointed to the spot when Genoa’s offside trap failed and Emiliano Moretti hauled down substitute Erjon Bogdani. Mutu cheekily chipped his old friend with the penalty to give Cesena the lead.
Cesena second choice goalkeeper Ravaglia protested that Moretti was not sent off in that incident and was himself red carded from the bench for dissent.
Mutu finally broke his goal drought and did it in style, as he added a second soon after in sensational fashion. The Romanian gathered on the outside left edge of the box and curled a glorious right-foot shot into the far top corner, leaving Frey rooted to the spot.
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Sent off from the bench: Ravaglia 71 (C)