Destro Earns Genoa Three Points to Foster Rossoblu Hopes

Oops, he did it again. Mattia Destro is on fire and, since his deadly double against Milan, continued his scoring streak with his sixth goal in a row, helping a re-born Genoa side to earn three fundamental points as the Grifone beat Cagliari 1-0 in Serie A Round 19.

While all eyes were focused on the Verona – Napoli game at the Marc’Antonio Bentegodi, the Marassi Stadium hosted one of the first real scontro salvezza of the Serie A season, even if we only just reached the turning point of the campaign.

Ballardini’s Genoa 4.0 – as it has been called by Italian media considering that the experienced coach from Ravenna is at his fourth stint at the helm of the Rossoblu – absolutely needed a three-point boost today to get out of the drop zone quicksands. But, so did Cagliari, who had started this season with completely different goals and dreams but also found themselves involved in the relegation dogfight.

Despite the new Davide Ballardini era beginning only a couple of weeks ago, Genoa’s latest results and ambitious calciomercato session seemed to have provided the Grifone with the boost they needed to raise back like a phoenix. Newcomer Kevin Strootman and Zavide Zappacosta – who was just back from an injury – were promoted to the starting XI. The same was for Cagliari’s “freshmen” Alfred Duncan and Radja Nainggolan.


Introducing the Dutchman in the center of Genoa’s midfield completely changed the home side’s game play, and it didn’t take much before the effects showed up: After just 10 minutes, the Grifone broke the deadlock in a difficult match.

There was a long ball from the back by Miha Zajc, followed by a fantastic stop from Eldor Shomurodov who served the upcoming Strootman. But rather than shooting directly at Alessio Cragno, the former Roma man passed the ball Maria Destro, who showed that he has seemingly recovered his killer instinct as he beat Cragno with a powerful right-foot shot from  the penalty spot.

Cagliari were anything but hopeless and the only reason why the score wasn’t leveled soon was Mattia Perin’s wonderful performance. The Genoa goalkeeper saved from Giovanni Simeone, who went one-on-one with him after being released by Joao Pedro.

That’s what made a difference in the first half: Perin was lucky enough to save from the best Cagliari occasion, while Cragno couldn’t – even if he was able to redeem himself later saving from a big opportunity for  Shomurodov.

As expected, the second half saw Cagliari push forward in an effort to find their equalizer, but the home side, guided by an incredible and unbeatable Perin, managed to keep the one goal advantage.

Genoa, on the other hand, were very dangerous with counterattacks, forcing Cragno to turn into the MPV for the visitors. Eldor Shomurodov, Davide Zappacosta and Goran Pandev all had many occasions to close the match, but Alessio Cragno was always ready to defend his goal.

The match resulted in a bitter loss for Eusebio Di Francesco, who sees his side plummeting to an anything-but-honorable second-to-last place in the Serie A talbe, while Davide Ballardini and Genoa can breathe again and look to the second half of season with a more positive outlook.



January 24, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 19

SCORER: 10′ Destro

GENOA (3-5-2): Perin; Masiello, Radovanovic, Criscito; Zappacosta, Zajc (77′ Melegoni), Badelj, Strootman (63′ Behrami), Czyborra (56′ Onguene); Destro (63′ Pandev), Shomurodov (77′ Pjaca) (Paleari, Marchetti, Bani, Goldaniga, Rovella, Ghiglione, Conti, Scamacca) Coach: Ballardini
CAGLIARI (4-3-2-1): Cragno; Zappa, Ceppitelli, Godin, Lykogiannis; Nandez, Marin, Duncan (70′ Sottil); Najnggolan (85′ Pereiro), Joao Pedro; Simeone (70′ Cerri) (Vicario, Aresti, Walukiewicz, Tripaldelli, Calabresi, Tramoni, Oliva, Caligara, Pavoletti) Coach: Di Francesco

REFEREE: Mr. Di Bello from Brindisi
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Destro (G), Nandez, Zappa (C)