Genoa vs Napoli 2-2: Substitutes Inspire Champs to Hard-Earned Draw

Genoa thought they were on the cusp of upsetting the apple cart and defeating reigning Serie A champions Napoli at home. However, Rudi Garcia’s men pulled off a stunning late comeback to eke out a 2-2 draw at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris and avoid another disappointment. 

No strangers to defying the odds, newly-promoted Genoa stunned last season’s Serie A runners-up Lazio on matchday two, running out 1-0 winners at the Stadio Olimpico. But a late 1-0 defeat at Torino on the stroke of September’s international break dampened their morale, casting doubt on their ability to perform well against the champs.

However, Alberto Gilardino seems to have taken full advantage of the pause to reignite the spirits in the Genoa camp. Unfazed by their visitors’ stature, the Griffins showed no signs of fear in the early stages, going toe-to-toe with Napoli. But it’s worth noting the chances were at a premium in the opening half an hour of play.

Desperate to bounce back from a disheartening 2-1 home loss to Lazio last time out, Napoli displayed very few signs of recovery in the first 45 minutes. Garcia’s side struggled to impose themselves as a dominant force like the pre-match odds suggested, with Genoa making them pay for their lackluster approach late in the first half.

Albert Gudmundsson whipped the ball to the near post from a corner, with Koni De Winter flicking it to the far end of Alex Meret’s goal, where Genoa defender Mattia Bani found himself unmarked and headed home to open the scoring in the 40th minute. Gilardino’s men went into halftime 1-0 up and deservedly so.

But they refused to rest on their laurels and continued asking questions in the front third. Their relentless effort paid off in the 56th when, as marquee summer arrival Mateo Retegui scored his second goal of the season with a delightful first-team finish to double the hosts’ lead. 

Napoli found themselves in a near-impossible situation, but Garcia’s second-half substitutes came to the rescue. Giacomo Raspadori entered the fray on the brink of the hour mark. It took him roughly 15 minutes on the pitch to get off the mark with a phenomenal finish from an acute angle to bring Partenopei back into the match. 

The visitors still had a lot to do in the remaining quarter of the game, but Matteo Politano found a way to restore parity. The left-footed winger barely made the matchday squad after picking up an injury during the international break. It didn’t stop him from producing a moment of magic when Napoli needed him most.

Piotr Zielinski lifted the ball behind Genoa’s backline. Politano latched onto the lofted pass with power and precision, smashing a stellar first-time shot into the top corner to hand Napoli a hear-earned point. However, a draw against a promoted rival was not what the visitors had in mind coming into this fixture. 

Winless in back-to-back Serie A matches, Napoli will be desperate to return to winning ways when they take on Bologna at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara next weekend. On the other hand, Genoa will play high-flying Lecce on the road. 

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