MX23RW : Tuesday, April 20 09:50:29| >> :120:9813:9813:
Feb 20, 2021 at 5pm UK at Stadio Luigi Ferraris
GenoaGenoa
2-2
Hellas VeronaHellas Verona
Shomurodov (48'), Badelj (90+3')
Strootman (57')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ilic (17'), Faraoni (61')
Cetin (74')

Preview: Genoa vs. Hellas Verona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Serie A clash between Genoa and Hellas Verona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

One of Italy's most in-form sides seek a fifth win in seven on Saturday evening, as Genoa welcome mid-table Hellas Verona to Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Having seen their outlook transformed by incoming manager Davide Ballardini in recent weeks, the hosts now sit just two places behind their visitors in the Serie A standings.


Match preview

Mattia Perin in action for Genoa on April 18, 2018© Reuters

Now unbeaten in six league games, resurgent Genoa have bettered the points tallies of Juventus, Milan, Roma and Napoli in that period, with only Lazio and Inter faring better.

Their rapid reversal in form - when before they looked an abject proposition, destined to dice with demotion - has been overseen by coach Davide Ballardini, who returned to the dugout for a fourth time earlier this season.

Former Lazio and Palermo boss Ballardini has lent heavily on the contributions of two erstwhile Italy internationals, who may now be eyeing a return to the Azzurri squad ahead of this summer's Euros. Roberto Mancini cannot fail to have been impressed by the input of on-loan goalkeeper Mattia Perin and striker Mattia Destro (top scorer, with nine goals), both of whom have bounced back from rejection by higher-profile employers to lead the Grifone up the table.

Currently sitting in the relative safety of 11th place, Genoa earned another point in their last outing, with a goalless draw away to Torino - a fifth clean sheet from six for Perin and their newly-resilient defensive unit.

They now face unpredictable Verona - an opponent they have won all of their last six league games against - having secured three wins on the bounce at home. In fact, lowly Parma were the last team to beat them on the notoriously lumpy Marassi turf, back in November, so the Ligurian side are arguably cast in the rare role as favourites ahead of Saturday's encounter.

Hellas Verona's Antonin Barak celebrates scoring against AC Milan on November 8, 2020© Reuters

After two consecutive defeats, against Roma and Udinese, ninth-placed Verona picked up all three points against Parma last Saturday - coming back from conceding an early penalty to win 2-1 at their Stadio Bentegodi stronghold.

Despite the absences of two players integral to head coach Ivan Juric's game plan - playmaker Mattia Zaccagni and wing-back Davide Faraoni - the Scaligeri were ultimately able to see off one of Europe's worst-performing teams of 2021.

Eight points above this week's opponents Genoa, they now sit in something of a no-man's land, as there is little hope of a push for European qualification - given the strength and points advantage of the clubs above them - but also no significant threat of being dragged into the bottom half of the table.

Former Croatia midfielder Juric faces his former club, whose revolving door - like opposite number Ballardini - he had previously walked through three times before this season, with his current side boasting one of the best defensive records in the top flight. So far, the Gialloblu's back line have conceded the same number of goals as league leaders Inter, with only Juventus and Napoli keeping things tighter this term.

However, a tally of 28 goals scored represents the worst figure among clubs in the top half of the table, as forward signings Nikola Kalinic and Kevin Lasagna have failed to fire as yet. Coming up against Genoa's radically reformed defensive unit on Saturday, to take points back to Veneto, surely Hellas will have to step it up a gear in the final third.

Genoa Serie A form: WDWWWD
Genoa form (all competitions): LDWWWD

Hellas Verona Serie A form: WLWLLW


Team News

Davide Ballardini, now in charge of Genoa, pictured in January 2018© Reuters

Genoa are set to be without Domenico Criscito - who came off injured in the first half versus Torino - Francesco Cassata and Davide Biraschi this weekend. Therefore, in Criscito's absence, Edoardo Goldaniga should step into a settled back three - also comprising Ivan Radovanovic and Andrea Masiello - ahead of goalkeeper Mattia Perin.

Davide Ballardini is also expected to recall Milan Badelj to the engine room after suspension, with Nicolo Rovella dropping out of the first XI.

Strikers Eldor Shomurodov and Gianluca Scamacca are competing with veteran Goran Pandev to partner main man Mattia Destro in the front pair of Ballardini's regular 3-5-2.

Visiting coach Ivan Juric returns to Marassi with a selection headache to resolve, as key defender Federico Dimarco is suspended and both Nikola Kalinic and Ebrima Colley are expected to miss out through injury. Fortunately though, Mattia Zaccagni returns from a ban to replace Colley and new signing Kevin Lasagna will continue to deputise for Kalinic up front.

As Pawel Dawidowicz and Federico Ceccherini are both still unavailable, the defensive trio in Verona's 3-4-2-1 is most likely to be formed by Mert Cetin, Koray Gunter and one of either Giangiacomo Magnani or Matteo Lovato.

Genoa possible starting lineup:
Perin; Goldaniga, Radovanovic, Masiello; Zappacosta, Zajc, Badelj, Strootman, Czyborra; Shomurodov, Destro

Hellas Verona possible starting lineup:
Silvestri; Cetin, Gunter, Lovato; Faraoni, Tameze, Ilic, Lazovic; Barak, Zaccagni; Lasagna


SM words green background

We say: Genoa 1-1 Hellas Verona

Two of the tightest defences in Calcio during recent months meet at Marassi, with a finely-balanced encounter in prospect.

Verona's lack of a cutting edge has cost them on occasions, but the return of Mattia Zaccagni alongside Antonin Barak in the twin-tens role they share could help to unlock a resolute home rearguard. Genoa, meanwhile, can extend their unbeaten run, as they stride further away from the Serie A drop zone.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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2AC Milan31206559362366
3Atalanta BCAtalanta31197572383464
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5Napoli31193966353160
6Lazio30184851411058
7Roma3116695547854
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9Hellas VeronaHellas Verona31118123938141
10Sampdoria31116144246-439
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12Udinese3199133441-736
13Genoa31711133346-1332
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18CagliariCagliari3167183554-1925
19Parma31311173263-3120
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