STADIO RENATO DALL’ARA (Bologna) – Antonio Sanabria’s fine individual effort helped Genoa in their battle against relegation as they beat nine-man Bologna 3-0 on Saturday evening.
Lecce’s defeat of SPAL earlier in the day piled on the pressure as the Pugliese side leapfrogged Sampdoria and moved six points clear of the drop zone, but the Grifone responded and are now just one point behind their city rivals, though the Blucerchiati are yet to play in matchday 24.
The Genovese also kept a second consecutive clean sheet for the first time this season with what was their third in the last four games, as well as scoring more than once against Bologna in Serie A for the first time since January 2013.
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It was actually the hosts who started on top, though other than a couple of half-chances they couldn’t carve out anything clear and came closest with some hit-and-hope efforts from range.
That early pressure was weathered though, primarily due to Andrea Masiello and Adama Soumaoro’s efforts in front of Mattia Perin.
Toni Sanabria came closest to opening the scoring when he flicked on a corner at the near post but Lukasz Skorupski reacted well to save.
Genoa took the lead thanks to two of their defenders combining in the Bologna box. Both Masiello and Soumaoro had bossed things at the back since the first whistle and the ex-Atalanta player then picked out his partner with a driven cross-shot that the Frenchman turned in.
If the game’s flow hadn’t already changed, it definitely turned when Jerdy Schouten was shown a red card.
He caught Valon Behrami late and high but Davide Massa initially showed a yellow card, later upgrading his punishment and showing a straight red card after consulting with VAR and checking replays.
Skorupski made another good save to keep Stefano Sturaro out but there was little he could do to stop Sanabria doubling the Grifone’s lead in stunning fashion.
The Paraguayan picked the ball up halfway into his own half and set off on the right. Largely uncontested until he reached the Bologna box, thanks to Musa Barrow jogging back by his side, he then mazed his way through two Veltri defenders and slotted a low finish into Skorupski’s far corner.
Bologna started the second half as lively as they did the first as Mattias Svanberg and Andrea Poli both saw long-range efforts fly over before Barrow drove a freekick that Perin got down to hold.
The tension had risen around the Dall’Ara long before half time and the home supporters were, with very little reason, less than pleased with Massa’s officiating and what they deemed to be time-wasting tactics on the part of Davide Nicola’s players.
Stefano Denswil clumsily conceded an 88th-minute penalty and saw a second yellow card to reduce Bologna to nine men and captain Domenico Criscito converted from the spot to seal the points.
Genoa move onto 22 points with the win but stay in 18th, one point off Sampdoria who host Fiorentina on Sunday.