It’s a mystery how Genoa-Juventus ended goalless, as the Bianconeri hit the woodwork three times and both sides had furious penalty appeals.
The Bianconeri were falling off the title pace after five draws from their last six rounds. The tension got to Antonio Conte, who was in the stands due to a touchline ban, while the defence had to be completely revamped. Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli were ruled out along with the suspended Leonardo Bonucci, so Arturo Vidal had to act as makeshift centre-back. Assistant manager Angelo Alessio was on the bench.
Genoa were missing Cesare Bovo, Andreas Granqvist and Luca Antonelli, but welcomed back Alberto Gilardino from an injury lay-off.
In the opening 10 seconds Genoa almost took the lead. Rodrigo Palacio sprung the offside trap and his lob was acrobatically flapped out from under the bar by Gigi Buffon. Moments later Emanuele Giaccherini threatened for Juventus, scuffing his tap-in wide from six yards on a Simone Pepe assist.
Sebastien Frey used his legs to parry a Pepe angled drive, while Buffon had to rush well out of his area to clear from Gilardino. It was end to end stuff at Marassi, as Frey beat away a Claudio Marchisio touch from Mirko Vucinic’s cross from close range.
Juventus were taking control and Alessandro Matri had penalty appeals for an evident Carvalho shirt-tug on 17 minutes, but the referee waved play on. Replays suggest the two players were tugging each other.
Gilardino’s header was just over the bar from Davide Biondini’s cross and there were more complaints for a Giuseppe Sculli handling offence as the ball ricocheted off Carvalho. A couple of Andrea Pirlo free kicks were off target.
On 38 minutes Juve went close again, as Matri ran on to a Vucinic through ball, but Marco Rossi made a decisive block to rescue Frey in the box. A low Bosko Jankovic free kick went past the wall and Gilardino was inches away from getting the final touch.
These teams had not drawn 0-0 here in Serie A since 1962, but the goals still weren’t coming despite their best efforts. Carvalho crucially blocked Matri’s shot from point-blank range, but from the resulting corner Juve rattled the crossbar! Vucinic flicked on the Pirlo cross with his head only to find the woodwork.
Frey fingertipped a Pirlo blockbuster over the bar and Vucinic went extremely close again on 58 minutes, as his looping header back across the face of goal shaved a coat of paint off the upright from Pepe’s cross.
The Genoa frame of the goal seemed cursed for Juve, as moments later Pepe hit the far post as well with low volley from Pirlo’s free kick that had Frey well beaten!
However, the home side also threatened with two Kakha Kaladze efforts from the same set play, both bringing saves out of Buffon, above all the volley at the back post. Paolo De Ceglie also risked a second yellow card when he brought down Gilardino.
A Marchisio blockbuster from distance was acrobatically palmed out from under the bar by Frey. Pepe was also left frustrated when he did hit the back of the net, but was flagged offside. Replays suggest it was only just the correct decision, as he was slightly behind Emiliano Moretti.
Palacio also had penalty appeals when he pounced on a horrible Vidal clearance, but fired wide under pressure from Marchisio, who might’ve clipped his heel.
Even Marco Borriello was introduced against his former club, as Juve desperately poured forward.
However, Genoa were furious, as they felt Pirlo’s tackle on Rossi was worthy of a penalty.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk