Genoa an­ni­hi­late Ju­ven­tus

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Genoa ut­terly an­ni­hi­lated Ju­ven­tus in the first half and sent the lead­ers crash­ing to a 3-1 de­feat, with two added in­jury woes.

The Bian­coneri knew Mi­lan had won last night, so needed a vic­tory to main­tain the seven-point gap. Gon­zalo Higuain was not risked from the start af­ter a mus­cu­lar prob­lem, while An­drea Barza­gli, Paulo Dy­bala and Marko Pjaca were in­jured. The hosts missed top scorer Leonardo Pav­o­letti, plus sus­pended duo Miguel Veloso and Lucas Or­ban.

Juve had won five of their last six meet­ings with Genoa, home and away, save for a 1-0 loss here in Oc­to­ber 2014. Max Al­le­gri set out an un­usual 3-5-2 for­ma­tion with Stephan Licht­steiner in the back three and Juan Cuadrado on the left of a front two.

It was a re­mark­able start, as Leonardo Bonucci was caught in pos­ses­sion to spark a counter, Gigi Buf­fon man­aged three re­ac­tion saves, in­clud­ing one with the aid of Alex San­dro, but could do noth­ing on the fourth from Gio­vanni Sime­one.

Buf­fon des­per­ately scram­bled to get a loose ball un­der con­trol, de­spite the ef­forts of his team­mates, and mo­ments later Genoa added a sec­ond goal.

Darko La­zovic skipped past Alex San­dro on the left and his cross was met by a Sime­one div­ing header from six yards. Cholito hadn’t found the net in six games, but had a brace in the open­ing 13 min­utes.

Ev­ery time Genoa went on the counter, they were dan­ger­ous and ran into huge spa­ces. Luca Rigoni turned a Diego Lax­alt cross over from close range.

The third goal was ab­so­lutely chaotic. A cor­ner was knocked down for Rigoni’s vol­ley and Alex San­dro’s at­tempt at a goalline clear­ance only fired it into the roof of the net.

Sime­one fol­lowed up on the re­bound, but by that stage it had al­ready gone over. It was the first time since April 2004 against Lecce that Ju­ven­tus had con­ceded three goals in a Serie A first half.

The Bian­coneri’s day got even worse when Bonucci pulled up clutch­ing his ham­string and im­me­di­ately re­quested a sub­sti­tu­tion.

Mario Mandzu­kic had penalty ap­peals for a very clumsy Lucas Ocam­pos chal­lenge from be­hind, but the ref­eree waved play on. Juve moved to four at the back, but it was too late to change a dis­as­trous first half per­for­mance.

Juve seemed live­lier af­ter the break, Mi­ralem Pjanic drilling wide and Sami Khedira’s vol­ley off tar­get from six yards on a knocked-down cor­ner.

Al­le­gri un­leashed Higuain for

Licht­steiner, but it should’ve been 4-0 when Sime­one forced Buf­fon into a des­per­ate save at the near post af­ter Medhi Be­na­tia’s er­ror.

Dani Alves was stretchered off on 75 min­utes when the sub­sti­tu­tions had been com­pleted, leav­ing Ju­ven­tus down to 10 men. It could well have been nine, be­cause Juan Cuadrado was only booked for a ter­ri­ble studs-up slid­ing tackle on Diego Lax­alt.

Ju­ven­tus did pull one back with eight min­utes to go thanks to a trade­mark Pjanic free kick into the near top cor­ner.

Genoa’s Lucas Ocam­pos car­ries his team­mate Gio­vanni Sime­one on his shoul­ders to cel­e­brate the vic­tory at the end of the Serie A soc­cer match be­tween Genoa and Ju­ven­tus

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