The bell tolls for Molassana’s perfect record


A day after Sampdoria lost to much-fancied Inter, while Genoa were being given the runaround by Lazio in Rome, dreams were also being shattered at the Campo Sportivo Italo Ferrando Cornigliano.

But this time it was not the Genovese who were suffering, as the footballers of S.C. Molassana Boero A.S.D. suffered their first defeat of the season at the one-sided ground squeezed in between the bell tower of the Church of our Lady in Lourdes at Campi, an Ikea warehouse and the local Lidl in Cornigliano.

Something had to give, as this was only the second outing of the season for two unbeaten sides in the less frenetic world of Eccellenza Liguria.

With the fifth tier of Italian football permitting five substitutions, the second-half inevitably took on a pre-season friendly feel as ten changes were made in nine separate interventions. The fact players are encouraged to leave via the nearest sideline, and trudging slowly from the field is given short shrift added a five-a-side football feel to proceedings – helped by the plastic surface – but the manner in which the visitors from Molassana reshuffled almost their entire forward line to try and get back into the game smacked of American football.

Direct action

Amid the chaos some football broke out, too much in the case of home team A.S.D. Genova Calcio, who should have hit the box at every opportunity after witnessing the early flailings of visiting keeper Alessandro Gianrossi.

The youngster would go on to prove his shot-stopping prowess but categorically failed to command his box and was characteristically absent at the game’s crucial moment, in the 62nd minute.

Genova’s Marco Campelli hung in a cross from the right that was permitted to reach Francesco Ilardo at the far post and his shot beat Gianrossi before being handled on the line. Ilardo made no mistake from the spot to claim the game’s only goal by sending the keeper the wrong way.

It was no more than the hosts deserved, their occasional attacks getting more direct, and more threatening as the game wore on. Molassana displayed a wonderfully fluid front four in a formation devilishly difficult to pin down as a 4-2-4 but for all their darting runs, interchanging players and false nines, they rarely made any headway until chasing the game late on.

With Simone Galleri having sent a free header wastefully over from a perfect Lorenzo Eranio free-kick for the visitors two minutes before the goal, the subsequent flurry of changes saw Davide Cuman beat home keeper Cesare Dondero to a Matteo Cucurullo corner five minutes from time only for his header to drop wide and lively substitute Mohamed Keita sent a low effort scudding wide in added time.

Injury blow

Gianrossi had brilliantly denied Genova’s Gabriele Sanci in the first half, Ilardo had leaned back too far three minutes before his goal and headed wide in the 71st minute in a game which saw few clear-cut chances.

Victory kept Genova Calcio alongside Sestri Levante 1919 as the only sides with perfect records in the 16-team scramble to nab the automatic promotion place to Serie D. The runners-up secure a place in a heinously complex play-off system which requires the 28 Eccellenza divisions to supply a further seven promoted sides.

Unbeaten after two matches they may be, but there was a sting in the tail for the hosts, who lost their most impressive defender – snowy haired Luca Riggio – to an apparent muscle injury six minutes from time.

Sunday’s trip to face Imperia may just have a got a whole lot more demanding.


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