Genoa vs. Atalanta, Preview: Crunch time for desperate Grifone

Dino Panato

In February, Genoa found themselves on a good run of results and five points above the relegation places however after a dreadful run of recent form, the Grifone are now deep in relegation trouble and in desperate need of a victory.

After going five matches unbeaten from the end of January through to late February, Genoa were five points clear of the relegation places and seemingly in good enough form to maintain or increase their gap over the drop zone. This was brought to an abrupt halt with a 3-1 loss to Roma however during this match, Juraj Kucka was very harshly sent off at 1-1. It could be said that Kucka's sending off sparked off their decline as they went on to lose that match against Roma and haven't won since, picking up only two points from their previous six matches. Last time out, they managed to salvage a 1-1 derby draw with Sampdoria after Francelino Matuzalem's botched cross found the top corner, however it's debatable whether the Brazilian butcher should even have been on the pitch after ending Nenad Krsticic's season with a horror challenge just 12 minutes into the tie. Now two points from safety, Genoa need a victory, make no mistake. Nothing less will do for the Grifone.

In contrast, Atalanta can play relatively free of pressure. The Bergamo side sit 14th, nine points above the drop zone and have a straightforward-enough run in not to worry about a late-season nosedive towards the relegation places. Last week, they lost 2-0 at home to Champions League-chasing Fiorentina, a cause for concern being a red card for star striker German Denis. Il Tanque is by far and away Atalanta's top scorer with 15 goals, a full eight more than midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura so as a result of his suspension, goals may be hard to come by. Young Croatian Marko Livaja has put in some promising performances of late and he will be required to step up in Denis's absence.

Genoa have goalscoring worries of their own, with their own top scorer Marco Borriello suspended along with Juan Vargas and a host of players with their participation in doubt including the influential Kucka and defender Cesare Bovo. Aside from Denis, Atalanta also have midfielder Carlos Carmona suspended and Cristian Raimondi and Ricardo Cazzola out with injury whilst Davide Biondini is touch-and-go whether he will make the match.

Genoa injuries and suspensions

Out: Lukas Zima (injured); Marco Borriello, Juan Vargas (suspended). In doubt: Emiliano Moretti, Juraj Kucka, Damiano Ferronetti, Cesare Bovo, Marco Rossi.

Atalanta injuries and suspensions

Out: Franco Brienza, Cristian Raimondi, Riccardo Cazzola, Igor Budan, Gianpaolo Bellini, Guido Marilungo (injured); German Denis, Carlos Carmona (suspended). In doubt: Davide Biondini, Daniele Capelli.

Match date/time: Saturday 20th April 2013, 18:00 local, 12:00 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Luigi Ferraris (Genoa)

TV: Sky Calcio 1 (Italy), RAI Internazionale (USA)

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