Milan Survive Genoa Late Scare as Scamacca Own Goal Gifts Three Points

In the opening match of Sunday Serie A, Milan welcomed Genoa to the Stadio San Siro with the aim of consolidating their position in the top four, which would open the door to next season Champions League. Although unconvincing, Milan got their second win in a row thanks to an own goal from Gianluca Scamacca.

Both teams started the game rather slowly, although Milan had more possession in the early stages as expected, but lacked the urgency and momentum to push the game into the top zones in the final third.

Genoa, obviously, did play their part in slowing down Milan’s build-up play. The visitors’ tight and compact defense made it difficult for the home side to run the ball in the central zones.

Eventually Milan managed to keep the ball in the central zone around Genoa’s penalty area, and it paid off when Milan Badelj was penalized for a shove on Alexis Saelemaekers.

The Rossoneri were awarded a direct free kick in a favorable position, which was taken by Theo Hernandez. The left-back lunged for a powerful shot that hit the top of the wall and bounced at the feet of Ante Rebic. The Croatian international did not think twice and fired the ball to the right post with a brilliant half-volley.

After the opening goal, Milan began to play with more pressure, hoping to extend their lead. This immediately led to a perfect opportunity to double the score, after a well-executed one-touch football in Genoa’s final third.

Saelemaekers received the ball in a promising position behind the visitors’ midfield line, played a one-touch ball to Hakan Calhanoglu, who set up Rafael Leao with a slanting pass. The Milan striker had a great chance to score, but he slipped at the last moment and his shot was blocked at the near post.

On the other side, Genoa were very cautious in their forward movement and often tried to hit a long ball behind the Milan back line, which was then chased down by Mattia Destro and Scamacca. But despite their best efforts, Simon Kjaer and Fikayo Tomori had little trouble getting a grip on the two center forwards until a corner kick in the 37th minute.

Miha Zajc chipped the ball in from the right, which was aimed at the aforementioned Destro. The Genoa striker was completely surprised to get a free header from eight yards out and shook off Tomori with ease. The Italian took the ball well and fired it to the left post.

After conceding late in the first half, Milan had only one goal in mind – to regain the lead as soon as possible. They almost did, as Milan attacked down the right wing and created one of the best moves of the afternoon.

Pierre Kalulu played a quick one-two with Saelemaekers, the French defender charged into the box and played a superb low cross into the path of Rebic, who fired the ball over the bar and missed a great chance to put Milan back in front.

As Milan pushed forward more and more in search of their second goal, spaces opened up for Genoa to counter-attack. Marko Pjaca was on the receiving end of the action when he received the ball on the edge of the Milan penalty area, but his effort went wide of the target.

A minute later, Kjaer had a great chance to respond to Genoa’s set-piece goal as he connected with the ball at the penalty spot from a corner, but the Dane headed just past the left post.

However, the Rossoneri did manage to break through from a corner kick. The ball was flicked in by Calhanoglu, whose target Mario Mandzukic failed to reach the ball, but it bounced off Scamacca’s back and landed in the net.

It looked like Genoa would have luck on their side in the dying seconds of injury time, but Milan managed to survive a late shock with a double goalline clearance. Andrea Masiello and Valon Behrami both saw their attempts cleared off the line, preventing Davide Ballardini’s men from securing an away point.




April 18, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 31

SCORERS: 13′ Rebic (M), 37′ Destro (G), 68′ Scamacca (G, o.g.)

MILAN (4-2-3-1): G. Donnarumma; Kalulu (62′ Diogo Dalot), Kjaer, Tomori, Hernandez; Kessié, Bennacer (29′ st Tonali); Saelemaekers (63′ Brahim Diaz), Calhanoglu (87′ Krunic), Rebic; Rafael Leao (62′ Mandzukic) (Tatarusanu, Moleri, Romagnoli, Gabbia, Meité, Castillejo, Hauge) Coach: Pioli
GENOA (3-5-2): Perin; Goldaniga, Radovanovic, Masiello; Ghiglione (62′ Biraschi), Strootman (83′ Behrami), Badelj, Zajc, Cassata (74′ Pandev); Scamacca (74′ Shomurodov), Destro (57′ Pjaca) (Paleari, Zapata, Portanova, Melegoni, Onguene, Rovella, Czyborra) Coach: Ballardini

REFEREE: Mr. Calvarese from Teramo
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Goldaniga (G); Extra Time: 1st Half 1′, 2nd Half 3′