Genoa vs. Atalanta, Final Score 1-1: Points shared in untidy Marassi encounter

Claudio Villa

Genoa and Atalanta both scored inside the opening ten minutes in drawing 1-1. The home side had by far the better of the match but they may come to curse their profligacy at the end of the season.

Genoa coach Davide Ballardini made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 in the derby with Sampdoria las week, Eros Pisano, Ciro Immobile and the suspended Marco Borriello making way for Andrea Bertolacci, Bosko Jankovic and Antonio Floro Flores. Stefano Colantuono also made three changes, Davide Brivio, Luca Cigarini and Maxi Moralez entering for Ivan Radovanovic, Franco Brienza and German Denis.

The encounter got underway at a frantic pace and Genoa had a crucial lead in the sixth minute. A free kick from the left-hand side was floated in by Matuzalem and Antonio Floro Flores easily got the better of Cristian Del Grosso at the back post to head in and give the home fans a dream start.

This was stunted soon after. Atalanta went straight up the other end and Luca Cigarini forced a reflex save from Sebastien Frey with a powerful header. The resulting corner appeared to be hit to nobody in particular before Del Grosso arrived late to take a touch and power a drive past the motionless Frey from 18 yards.

It seemed as if both teams had done all their attacking in the opening ten minutes thereafter, as whilst there was no shortage of effort from either side, chances were hard to come by. The midfield battle was gritty, with Davide Biondini getting stuck in against his old club, eventually receiving a booking for persistent fouling.

There wasn't a lot to choose between the sides but as the half wore on, Genoa began to establish themselves, Emiliano Moretti's cross going just over Floro Flores's head however there was a definite lack of quality in attack on either side, with their respective leading scorers suspended.

Maxi Moralez had the opportunity to finish off a slick Atalanta counter attack but the ball got stuck under his feet and at the other end, Juraj Kucka managed to force a save out of Andrea Consigli with a header but at half time, the scores remained level.

The second half followed in much the same fashion as the first, with a fierce midfield battle, plenty of mistakes and little in the way of goalmouth action. Luca Cigarini, Atalanta's best player on the day, had the first chance of the second period, shooting wide after Juraj Kucka was caught in possession.

Atalanta coach Stefano Colantuono was sent to the stands for constantly berating the referee, meaning that Atalanta would have to go the final half hour without him barking orders from the touchline.

Just as in the first half, the Grifone began to assert themselves as the half wore on and they managed to carve the best chance of the match. Andrea Bertolacci's corner was met by the head of Daniele Portanova, who's effort was cleared off the line back to Bertolacci. The midfielder then drilled the ball low across the face of goal, going inches wide and only needing the slightest of touches from any of the Genoa men still in the box from the corner to give them the lead.

Into the dying minutes of the match and the hosts had Atalanta camped well inside their own half, peppering the visiting centre backs with crosses. The problem was with accuracy, whilst Genoa amassed plenty of shots, only a small percentage made it to Consigli in the Atalanta goal. Matuzalem had a well-struck effort from 30 yards saved and in the final minute, Genoa were nearly gifted a winner when Consigli's attempted clearance was charged down by substitute Ciro Immobile, Lionel Scaloni was able to get back and clear the danger.

Although the Grifone pushed for an equaliser throughout added time, Atalanta held on to a hard-fought point, and the visitors will definitely be happier with the outcome.

Genoa: Frey; Granqvist, Portanova, Manfredini, Moretti (Nadarevic 63); Kucka, Matuzalem, Bertolacci, Antonelli; Jankovic (Rigoni 73), Floro Flores (Immobile 59)

Atalanta: Consigli; Scaloni, Stendardo, Del Grosso, Lucchini; Bonaventura, Cigarini, Biondini, Brivio (Radovanovic 83); Moralez (Giorgi 66), Livaja (Parra 72)

Goals: Floro Flores 6 (G), Del Grosso 8 (A)

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