Livorno vs Hellas Verona, final score 2-3: Verona edge five goal thriller

Gabriele Maltinti

Hellas Verona almost had a three goal lead wiped out, but survived a late fightback to defeat Livorno 3-2 at the Stadio Armando Picchi.

Andrea Mandorlini's side remain in contention for the European places after victory in the lunchtime game. Verona did the damage in the first half thanks to strikes from Bosko Jankovic, Romulo and Luca Toni. Livorno rallied with goals from Paulinho and Leandro Greco, but left themselves with too much to do and couldn't salvage a point.

Both teams came up from Serie B last season. While Verona have flourished and remain in the upper echelon of Serie A, Livorno find themselves battling to avoid an instant return to Italy's second tier.

Livorno pulled themselves out of the relegation zone last weekend with a 2-1 victory at Cagliari. That victory came at a price, as captain Andrea Luci damaged knee ligaments and is out for the season. The dismissals of Federico Ceccherini and Marco Benassi meant both were suspended for this game. Luca Siligardi also missed out through injury.

Verona missed the suspended Emil Hallfredsson, while Domenico Maietta and Alejandro Gomez were injured.

Hellas put their hosts on the backfoot from the kickoff. Emerson got in front of Vangelis Moras to intercept an early Romulo corner and head the ball dangerously past his own near post.

Romulo and Marco Donadel combined to flick the ball into the penalty box, but the ball bounced too close in front of Francesco Bardi.

Toni saw a goal chalked off for offside on 15 minutes, but the striker was proving to be a handful for the Livorno defence. Bardi rushed out to deflect Toni's shot over after a loose ball fell to the hitman in the box. Toni's first touch let him down when he made a hash out of connecting with a Jankovic cross and his left foot volley rolled wide.

Michelangelo Albertazzi saw a cross turned shot almost creep in under the crossbar. Toni, with his back to goal, turned and dragged his shot a yard wide of the far post.

Livorno got brief respite when they won a set piece on 27 minutes and looked to their star man Paulinho. However, the frontman fired a disappointing shot straight into the Verona wall.

Bardi came to the Amaranto's rescue once again when the defence invited Donadel to drive towards goal. Bardi got crucial fingertips on the midfielder's dipping shot to divert it inches over the bar.

Verona's pressure finally paid off on 33 minutes. Jankovic whipped in a cross from the left hand side. Toni failed to get a touch, as the ball zipped past everyone in the box, bouncing in front of Bardi on its way into the net.

Romulo almost added a second four minutes before the break, but his grasscutter curled inches past the far post. At the other end, Ibrahima Mbaye couldn't direct his header into Djamel Mesbah's path in the Verona box.

A sweeping counter attack saw Verona double their lead two minutes before the break. Juan Iturbe ran past his markers and combined with Toni to cross for Romulo,  The on-loan Fiorentina man had time and space to pick his spot and slot past an exposed Bardi.

Verona were rampant and netted a third in first half stoppage time. Iturbe's electric pace rescued a ball on the touchline and he rolled across the box for Toni to tap into an empty net.

Domenico Di Carlo made an attacking change at the start of the second half, bringing on Ishak Belfodil. A more offensive approach by the Amaranto saw Innocent Emeghara balloon over and Alfred Duncan flash an effort wide.

Livorno's pressing inevitably left gaps at the back. Romulo threaded through for Iturbe to curl an effort the wrong side of the post. Toni was harshly booked for an alleged dive in the box and will miss next weekend's game against Bologna.

Bardi flew to palm over a Toni shot on the turn, while Rafael tipped over Paulinho's flicked header. Marquinho somehow volleyed over when he had an open goal to aim for.

Livorno took advantage and amazingly got back into the game with two goals in less than 60 seconds. Paulinho reduced the arrears on 72 minutes, curling an effort from outside the box into the far bottom corner. Sloppy Verona defending straight from the kickoff gave Livorno the ball back. Paulinho laid off for Greco to bend the ball off the crossbar into the top corner.

Verona were suddenly nervous and made substitutions to try and run the clock down. However, Livorno didn't have a third goal in them. Belfodil flicked a late header past the post, while Toni failed to make the closing moments more comfortable for Verona when he shot wide in the box.

Livorno: Bardi; Castellini, (Belfodil 46) Rinaudo, (Gemiti 61) Coda; Mesbah, Duncan, Emerson, Greco, Mbaye; (Mosquera 90) Emeghara, Paulinho

Hellas Verona: Rafael; Cacciatore, Moras, Marques, Albertazzi; Romulo, (Donati 83) Donadel, Marquinho; Iturbe, (Sala 79) Toni, Jankovic (Juanito Gomez 84)

Goals: Jankovic 33 (V) Romulo 43 (V) Toni 45 (V) Paulinho 72 (L) Greco 73 (L)

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.