Genoa risked throwing away a 3-0 lead in the final minutes, but eventually squeezed past Napoli 3-2 thanks to a magnificent Rodrigo Palacio half-volley.
The Grifone were out for revenge, as in December the 6-1 humiliation in Naples prompted Alberto Malesani’s dismissal. Pasquale Marino, Alberto Gilardino, Davide Biondini and Giuseppe Sculli came in after that game, although they were coming off another heavy 5-3 defeat at Palermo. Luca Antonelli, Dario Dainelli, Cesare Bovo, Kevin Constant, Miguel Veloso and Marco Rossi missed out. Napoli’s confidence was boosted by a Coppa Italia quarter-final victory over Inter midweek, though their Serie A form has not been great recently. Edinson Cavani and Gokhan Inler were rested.
Gilardino aimed a weak effort straight at Morgan De Sanctis from a promising position. Moments later, De Sanctis beat away a Bosko Jankovic strike only for Gila’s follow-up to hit teammate Rodrigo Palacio.
Goran Pandev wasted a couple of good opportunities, but Genoa had the better of the early play and took a deserved lead in quite spectacular fashion.
Gilardino nodded down a ball on the edge of the box, which Palacio allowed to bounce and unleash an amazing right-foot missile round the goalkeeper into the very far top corner. It was unstoppable.
Moments later, Gilardino made it 2-0 with a diving header on Giuseppe Sculli’s cross from the left, sneaking in behind Paolo Cannavaro.
The Napoli captain did not seem in great shape and limped off after a rough challenge from Giandomenico Mesto, switching to a 4-3-3 system.
It started snowing over the half-time break and the slippery surface might’ve had an effect on Palacio, who was clear on goal when he tripped and fell over the ball. He had only gone clear from a Napoli corner thanks to the Blerim Dzemaili slip.
Genoa did get the third goal when Sculli cut in for Gilardino, who rolled across for Palacio running down the right and placed an angled drive across De Sanctis.
Napoli did get one back with substitute Cavani’s 12th goal of the season, as he was allowed a free header on Christian Maggio’s cross.
In an amazing late comeback, the Partenopei went from 3-0 to 3-2 in just 120 seconds! Lavezzi burst forward and controlled a long ball with his head, let it bounce and fired under the bar with the outside of his foot.
Sebastien Frey needed to beat away a Dzemaili screamer from distance, as Genoa clung on for the victory.
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