Milan vs Genoa 3-1: Bold Performance Not Enough for Sheva

Perhaps it only made sense that Andriy Shevchenko’s partial redeem would come at the San Siro, where he used to shine as a Milan player. The Ukrainian coach has been having a troubled time on Genoa’s bench and his Coppa Italia Round of 16 matchup against the Rossoneri was a sort of last call for him.

Despite putting together an encouraging performance, his Genoa side succumbed 1-3 in extra times after taking the lead with one of his new signings, rock-solid defender Leo Ostigard. Shevchenko reshuffled his card and switched his module from 3-5-2 to 4-3-3, deploying a more vibrant and creative version of Genoa. 

The Milan supporters welcomed him back at the San Siro with a touching banner reading “Sheva, a legend forever” and honored him with a ovation even when the ball went out of play and simply ended on his feet.  

It is still too early to determine whether this will be enough to save him but tonight’s was by far his most convincing performance since he took the reins of the relegation strugglers Rossoblu.

Among the Milan lines, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic serving a one-match ban as a consequence of his infamous quarrel with Romelu Lukaku from last season, Olivier Giroud took the center forward spot. Behind him, Daniel Maldini won a cap as a starter alongside Junior Messias and Ante Rebic.

For Genoa, all eyes were on 21-year-old Kelvin Yeboah, who just joined the Rossoblu from Sturm Graz and joined Felipe Caicedo and Kaleb Ekuban upfront. But Shevchenko also gave room to some other newcomers, including Ostigard and Swiss right-back Silvan Hefti, who put together an impressive performance.

Impressive First-Half Performance from Genoa

Rade Krunic hitting the crossbar after just four minutes seemed to herald a walk in the park for Milan but the tides soon and unexpectedly turned in Genoa’s favor. On 16 minutes, Zinho Vanheusden tested Mike Maignan with a treacherous shot that called the French goalie to action.

It was a warning sign that the Rossoneri didn’t listen to as Genoa found the back of the net one minute later. Manolo Portanova whipped a corner kick in the box and, with the Milan defense sleeping, Ostigard had much room to jump and head the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach.

Things got even worse for Stefano Pioli’s side as Fikayo Tomori picked up an injury to his left knee and had to be replaced by Alessandro Florenzi.

On 40 minutes, Genoa went close to double their lead as an exchange between Ekuban and Portanova set the Juventus youth academy product free to shot from point-blank range. His conclusion ended wide of the net, sparing more blushes to a Rossoneri side that didn’t manage to trouble Genoa’s young goalkeeper Adrian Semper for the whole first half.

Rafael Leao Turns the Tides in Favor of Milan

The Croatian U-21 had some work to do early into the second period as he palmed away a close-range header from Olivier Giroud. Milan were still to shy, however, and Pioli tried to change the trend with a triple substitution around the one hour mark.

Brahim Diaz, Tiemoué Bakayoko and Rafael Leao set foot on the pitch all together. Shevchenko answered with his most performing man this season, Mattia Destro, who replaced Caicedo.

It was Leao’s addition that changed the trend of the match. The Portuguese quickly took control of the left chain and that was where Milan’s equalizer came from, as Giroud turned Theo Hernandez’s cross, propitiated by a Leao incursion, into a clinical header that teleported the ball into the top right corner of the Genoa goal.

After Pioli used his last change to add Alexis Saelemaekers for Messias, Yeboah gave room to 39-year-old Goran Pandev for Genoa as the match progressed into extra time. The Rossoblu didn’t seem to have much fuel left in the tank, however.

The additional periods started with a venomous shot from Rafael Leao, but Semper went above and beyond and defused the Portuguese’s challenge with the tip of his finger. Unfortunately for Genoa, the young goalie did much worse on 102 minutes when Leao’s lob cross from the left somehow turned into a shot that caught him by surprise and rolled into the back of the net to put the Rossoneri ahead.

Genoa were still alive and tried to bring themselves back in contention with a Paolo Ghiglione shot that crashed into Maignan’s gloves. But Milan were in control by now and got the job done on 112 minutes, as Saelemaekers received the ball from Hernandez and fired it past Semper from the center of the box.

Milan advanced to the Quarter Finals but Genoa showed that they can still have their say in the battle to avoid relegation. It remains to be seen, however, if they will do it with Andriy Shevchenko still at helm.



January 13, 2022 – Coppa Italia 2021/22 Round of 16
MILAN – GENOA 3-1 after extra times

SCORERS: 17′ Ostigard (G), 73′ Giroud (M), 102′ Rafael Leao (M), 112′ Saelemaekers (M)

MILAN (4-2-3-1): Maignan; Kalulu, Gabbia, Tomori (24′ Florenzi), Hernandez; Krunic (62′ Bakayoko), Tonali; Messias (80′ Saelemaekers), Maldini (62′ Brahim Díaz), Rebic (62′ Rafael Leao); Giroud (118′ Roback) (Mirante, Nava, Stanga) Coach: Pioli
GENOA (4-3-1-2): Semper; Hefti, Vanheusden, Ostigard (11′ Bani); Vasquez, Portanova (106′ Ghiglione), Badelj, Melegoni; Ekuban (71′ Cassata); Caicedo (63′ Destro), Yeboah (87′ Pandev (Marchetti, Sirigu, Masiello, Galdames, Sturaro, Touré; Buksa) Coach: Shevchenko

REFEREE: Mr. Aureliano from Bologna
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Tonali, Saelemaekers (M), Badelj, Yeboah, Ostigard, Hefti (G); Added Time: 1st Half: 2′, 2nd Half: 5′, 1st Extra Half: 0′, 2nd Extra Half: 1′