Blessin: ‘You can’t write this screenplay, I feel 30 years older’

Genoa coach Alexander Blessin ‘feels 30 years older’ after the incredible comeback win over Juventus and admits you ‘can’t write this screenplay’ with the Domenico Criscito penalty.

It was a remarkable game at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Paulo Dybala putting Juve in front at the dawn of the second half and then hitting the woodwork, while a penalty was awarded to Juve and then revoked following a VAR on-field review.

“It’s really difficult to describe the feelings,” an emotional Blessin told Sky Sport Italia in English.

“We started not good, the first 20 minutes we dropped too deep, we got better, but we needed the players to believe. We made changes, I wanted more of a box-to-box player with deep movements.

Serie A | Genoa 2-1 Juventus: Criscito revives the Grifone

“After three minutes of the second half, you concede this goal and you think oh f***. You made a mistake. At this moment you have real problems, think ok, perhaps it wasn’t the best decision, but the players believe in the way we play and showed a great mentality.”

The extraordinary turnaround was enacted by Albert Gudmundsson and above all Criscito converting a last-gasp penalty, just days after the same Genoa legend saw his spot-kick saved in a 1-0 defeat to Sampdoria.

“The last 15 minutes was really unbelievable. You cannot write this screenplay, when you think we equalised 1-1, they had a big chance with Kean, we got the penalty. This is football, full of emotions.

“You see last week Mimmo not scoring the penalty, now he has the responsibility and it is unbelievable how much pressure is on his shoulders at this moment. Winning this game, you cannot say it’s not deserved. We tried everything, showed a really great mentality.

“For sure, we are still in this position, but we are close to the other teams and we are back on track.”

Criscito was utterly distraught after last week’s penalty save against Sampdoria, so how did Blessin help him through the week?

“You saw this week his training, his performance. I talked to him, told him head up, the next chance will come. Usually when you talk to the players, they don’t believe you, but I felt the sensation we can still reach this. He has this experience, this really great left foot and it was nice to see his performance today after last week.

“This is why we love football! Mind you, I feel 30 years older now…”

Allegri stands up for Juventus, Vlahovic and Kean

Max Allegri stands up for Dusan Vlahovic and Moise Kean after Juventus fumbled a lead to lose 2-1 at Genoa in stoppages. ‘We didn’t have anyone slowing the moves down.’

Paulo Dybala had scored a splendid strike with his weaker right foot and also hit the woodwork with his left, but Albert Gudmundsson equalised before Domenico Criscito converted a last-gasp penalty.

“More than angry, I am disappointed not to win a game that was on the right track. We should’ve scored a second goal and didn’t,” Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

“The thing we really need to work on, although admittedly the characteristics of the players aren’t suited to it, is that once we had to take off Arthur, Minetti and Dybala, we didn’t have any player who could dictate the tempo and slow the moves down. We only had counter-attacking players and it was end-to-end stuff. When you waste so many chances, you are going to be punished.”

Serie A | Genoa 2-1 Juventus: Criscito revives the Grifone

Juve had to rotate the squad and take some of their star names off early to rest them ahead of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia Final against Inter.

“I am sad to lose, but in terms of the table, at least it didn’t make much difference. Now we have the Coppa Italia and absolutely cannot make the same mistakes there.

“Arthur had been out for a while, Cuadrado was just coming back and had an hour in his legs, so we had to try to balance the playing time and reach Wednesday in the best condition.”

Vlahovic seemed very irritable on the bench in the final stages, having forced a couple of saves but again failed to find the net.

“This was one of Vlahovic’s best games on a technical level. I am very pleased with the way he played with his technique. I tried to explain it before, but I was attacked as if I was the one ruining Vlahovic. He hasn’t played that many Serie A games and we need to find a balance here. Maybe he didn’t realise it was a good performance, I think next season we will see a definite improvement in terms of how he balances out the tempo of his performance, learning that he hasn’t failed if he doesn’t score a goal, there’s more to it.”

Kean missed a couple of absolute sitters at Marassi this evening, so what is his next step?

“Kean is a player who usually scores with half a chance, tonight he had five or six and didn’t score, so that’s football for you. He has more experience, despite being very young, but he too needs to play it simple and not use up so much energy in these individual duels that aren’t really helping.”

Considering the drama of Domenico Criscito’s tears after his penalty was saved against Sampdoria last week, what did Allegri think when he saw the veteran step up again?

“Football can give you opportunities that come round and round again. I felt he would score tonight, because at the 95th minute again and at the same end, he was unlikely to get it wrong a second time.

“This is the sport, if you don’t take your chances, you can be punished, so Genoa deserved it.”

Criscito: ‘Football makes you cry and smile’

Genoa captain Domenico Criscito explains how he felt shaking off last week’s penalty error to give Genoa victory against Juventus. ‘Football makes you cry, it makes you smile.’

The dramatic finale at Marassi felt like something out of a movie, a week on from his stoppage-time effort saved by Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Audero in a 1-0 defeat that left him utterly distraught.

This time, Genoa had another last-gasp spot-kick and Criscito converted to give them a 2-1 win over Juve, keeping their hopes of avoiding relegation alive.

“Football makes you cry, it makes you smile. Nobody can cancel last week’s error, but I am happy for these three points as we keep that little light alive and can still believe,” Criscito told Sky Sport Italia.

“The fight to stay in Serie A is so tight, we’ve got to keep battling to the end. We must face Napoli with the same determination as tonight, because we went behind, but never stopped believing.”

When the penalty was awarded at the 95th minute, despite what happened against Sampdoria, Criscito did not hesitate to step up.

“To be honest, I was more relaxed tonight than last week. The problem last week was I changed corner at the last second and it went badly, this time I felt sure.”

His wife and children were in the stands and they looked to be in tears even before he took the penalty.

“My wife knows how much I suffer when we lose. It has been a hard week for us, I was concentrated only on working. I am very happy.”

Serie A | Genoa 2-1 Juventus: Criscito revives the Grifone

Paulo Dybala scored a wonderful goal, but Genoa completed a dramatic comeback with Domenico Criscito this time in tears of joy for a last-gasp penalty.

Watch the highlights here.

Serie A Highlights: Genoa 2-1 Juventus

The Bianconeri were already guaranteed a top four finish, but didn’t rotate the squad too much ahead of Wednesday’s Coppa Italia Final against Inter. Juan Cuadrado and Mattia De Sciglio returned, with Danilo and Luca Pellegrini joining long-term absentees Manuel Locatelli, Weston McKennie, Federico Chiesa and Kaio Jorge, so 18-year-old Fabio Miretti started his second game in midfield. Genoa were desperate after the defeat to Sampdoria left them four points from safety, with Nikola Maksimovic and Zinho Vanheusden not fully fit.

Moise Kean wasted a huge chance in the opening minutes, nodding over from a Paulo Dybala cross at the back post.

Mattia Destro also turned a header over from a Pablo Galdames corner, while Salvatore Sirigu got his fingertips to a Kean pull-back for Dusan Vlahovic.

Serie A Liveblog: Inter-Empoli and Genoa-Juventus

Leonardo Bonucci charged down Filippo Melegoni’s attempt and Dybala tested Sirigu from distance, as did Manolo Portanova on Wojciech Szczesny with a scorcher.

Straight after the restart, Destro ballooned over when relatively undisturbed from eight yards, but Juventus did take their chance moments later.

Dybala gathered just outside the D and unleashed a wonderful curling finish with his weaker right foot into the far bottom corner, dipping just beyond Sirigu’s fingertips.

Szczesny had to readjust after a poor Kean back-pass and deal with a Frendrup strike, but Dybala almost had a second when curling with his left foot from a similar position to the goal, this time finding the base of the upright.

Vlahovic rode two tackles to force a save at the near post, while Kean had the ball in the net only after he was flagged offside.

Caleb Ekuban’s header whistled wide, but Genoa breathed a sigh of relief when the referee awarded a penalty on 84 minutes, only to change his mind after a VAR on-field review, seeing Albert Gudmundsson got the ball before Marley Ake.

It proved decisive, because moments later Gudmundsson equalised for Genoa. It was a divinely weighted through ball from Nadiem Amiri and he kept his cool for the angled drive past Szczesny.

It should’ve been 2-1 for Genoa a minute after that, Juve giving it away cheaply only for Amiri to fire straight at Szczesny from nine yards. Amiri also saw a shot charged down by Denis Zakaria.

Kean was limping badly when Alvaro Morata went on the counter and rolled it across for the young striker to incredibly fire wide of an open goal.

That again proved decisive, because moments later Mattia De Sciglio brought down Kelvin Yeboah for a penalty. Criscito had been left in floods of tears just days earlier when his last-gasp penalty was saved against Sampdoria. However, the veteran immediately stepped up and converted with the last kick of the game into the bottom corner, this time left with tears of joy as his teammates surrounded him.

Genoa are still alive and Criscito went from zero to hero.

Genoa 2-1 Juventus

Dybala 48 (J), Gudmundsson 87 (G), Criscito pen 96 (G)

Criscito nets late penalty to fire relegation-threatened Genoa to win over Juventus

An injury-time penalty from Domenico Criscito fired relegation-threatened Genoa to a 2-1 win over Juventus.

Genoa trailed with three minutes left on the clock, but Albert Gudmundsson drew them level and Criscito fired home from the spot deep in injury time for three points as they battle to avoid the drop.

After a slow start to the half with Juventus controlling the majority of the possession, Genoa gradually grew into the game towards the end of the opening 45 minutes.

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The best chance of the half fell to striker Mattia Destro, who headed a corner over from close-range.

Wojciech Szczesny, who had little to do in the first 40 minutes, found himself called into action three times as the first half drew to a close, giving Genoa confidence going into the second period.

Destro continued to prove problematic, and forced a strong save out of Szczesny on the stroke of half time after a speculative long-range effort was beaten away by the Poland international.

Genoa had another chance through Destro 60 seconds into the second half, but after meeting a fizzed delivery across the box, blazed his first-time effort over the bar.

Two minutes later Juventus took the lead through Paulo Dybala, who scored his ninth goal against Genoa in spectacular fashion. He picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and crafted a pinpoint strike towards the far post, before nestling into the bottom left corner.

Juventus were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute when substitute Marley Ake was fouled by Gudmundsson, but a quick VAR check showed he got enough of the ball for the referee to overturn the decision.

Minutes later Gudmundsson levelled the score with a neat finish beyond Szczesny.

The host’s were awarded a penalty deep into injury-time, which was dispatched by club captain Criscito to complete the comeback and earn a valuable three points for Genoa.

With two games remaining, Genoa have hope in the battle to stay up.

TALKING POINT – HUGE COMEBACK WIN FOR GENOA

The odds remain stacked against them in the relegation battle, but a late double wrapped up all three points for the hosts, who needed them now more than ever. With three minutes to go it looked like they were heading for defeat, and potential relegation on Sunday, but an Albert Gudmundsson goal turned the tide before captain Domenico Criscito kept his cool to dispatch a penalty deep into added time.

Relegation rivals Cagliari and Salernitana face-off this weekend, but for now Genoa sit just a point from safety with two games to go. They’ve taken their chance and it could be worth top-flight football next season.

MAN OF THE MATCH – PAULO DYBALA (JUVENTUS)

The Argentine was the best player on the pitch by a distance. He was replaced when Juventus were leading and in cruise control, with Max Allegri likely having one eye on Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final, but outclassed his opposition throughout the game.

He took his goal exceptionally, showing elite precision to find the bottom corner from 25 yards out, and almost repeated the strike later on in the game, but was denied by the post. The goal was his 115th for Juventus, and ninth against Genoa.

MATCH RATINGS

GENOA: Sirigu 7, Hefti 7, Bani 6, Ostigard 6, Criscito 8, Galdames 6, Badelj 6, Melegoni 6, Amiri 7, Portanova 8, Destro 7

Subs: Yeboah 5, Gudmundsson 8, Ekuban 5, Frendrup 5

JUVENTUS: Szczesny 6, Cuadrado 6, Bonucci 7, Rugani 6, De Sciglio 7, Arthur 5, Miretti 6, Rabiot 6, Dybala 9*, Vlahovic 7, Kean 5

Subs: Sandro 5, Ake N/A, Morata 6, Bernardeschi 5, Zakaria 5

KEY MOMENTS

31’ – CHANCE GENOA! After forcing a cheap corner out of Kean, Destro wins the header in front of goal but guides it over the bar. The best chance so far for the hosts.

45’+1 – PORTANOVA STRIKES FROM RANGE! And Szczesny beats it away! That was a great effort from the winger against his former club. The Juventus goalkeeper has been called into action a few times in the last couple minutes after a quiet half.

48’ – GOAL! GENOA 0-1 JUVENTUS (DYBALA): And what a strike it is! He finds the bottom corner from roughly 25 yards out. That’s his ninth goal against Genoa.

87’ – GOAL! GENOA 1-1 JUVENTUS (GUDMUNDSSON): His first for Genoa and what a time to get it! A cool finish gives Szczesny no chance!

90’+6 – GOAL! GENOA 2-1 JUVENTUS (CRISCITO): Incredible scenes! A huge moment for Genoa! Criscito buries the penalty in the bottom left corner.

KEY STAT

  • 115 – Paulo Dybala scored his 115th goal for Juventus, equalling Roberto Baggio (9th place each in the all time Bianconeri scorers ranking). (Opta).

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Criscito nets late penalty to fire relegation-threatened Genoa to win over Juventus

An injury-time penalty from Domenico Criscito fired relegation-threatened Genoa to a 2-1 win over Juventus.

Genoa trailed with three minutes left on the clock, but Albert Gudmundsson drew them level and Criscito fired home from the spot deep in injury time for three points as they battle to avoid the drop.

After a slow start to the half with Juventus controlling the majority of the possession, Genoa gradually grew into the game towards the end of the opening 45 minutes.

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The best chance of the half fell to striker Mattia Destro, who headed a corner over from close-range.

Wojciech Szczesny, who had little to do in the first 40 minutes, found himself called into action three times as the first half drew to a close, giving Genoa confidence going into the second period.

Destro continued to prove problematic, and forced a strong save out of Szczesny on the stroke of half time after a speculative long-range effort was beaten away by the Poland international.

Genoa had another chance through Destro 60 seconds into the second half, but after meeting a fizzed delivery across the box, blazed his first-time effort over the bar.

Two minutes later Juventus took the lead through Paulo Dybala, who scored his ninth goal against Genoa in spectacular fashion. He picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and crafted a pinpoint strike towards the far post, before nestling into the bottom left corner.

Juventus were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute when substitute Marley Ake was fouled by Gudmundsson, but a quick VAR check showed he got enough of the ball for the referee to overturn the decision.

Minutes later Gudmundsson levelled the score with a neat finish beyond Szczesny.

The host’s were awarded a penalty deep into injury-time, which was dispatched by club captain Criscito to complete the comeback and earn a valuable three points for Genoa.

With two games remaining, Genoa have hope in the battle to stay up.

TALKING POINT – HUGE COMEBACK WIN FOR GENOA

The odds remain stacked against them in the relegation battle, but a late double wrapped up all three points for the hosts, who needed them now more than ever. With three minutes to go it looked like they were heading for defeat, and potential relegation on Sunday, but an Albert Gudmundsson goal turned the tide before captain Domenico Criscito kept his cool to dispatch a penalty deep into added time.

Relegation rivals Cagliari and Salernitana face-off this weekend, but for now Genoa sit just a point from safety with two games to go. They’ve taken their chance and it could be worth top-flight football next season.

MAN OF THE MATCH – PAULO DYBALA (JUVENTUS)

The Argentine was the best player on the pitch by a distance. He was replaced when Juventus were leading and in cruise control, with Max Allegri likely having one eye on Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final, but outclassed his opposition throughout the game.

He took his goal exceptionally, showing elite precision to find the bottom corner from 25 yards out, and almost repeated the strike later on in the game, but was denied by the post. The goal was his 115th for Juventus, and ninth against Genoa.

MATCH RATINGS

GENOA: Sirigu 7, Hefti 7, Bani 6, Ostigard 6, Criscito 8, Galdames 6, Badelj 6, Melegoni 6, Amiri 7, Portanova 8, Destro 7

Subs: Yeboah 5, Gudmundsson 8, Ekuban 5, Frendrup 5

JUVENTUS: Szczesny 6, Cuadrado 6, Bonucci 7, Rugani 6, De Sciglio 7, Arthur 5, Miretti 6, Rabiot 6, Dybala 9*, Vlahovic 7, Kean 5

Subs: Sandro 5, Ake N/A, Morata 6, Bernardeschi 5, Zakaria 5

KEY MOMENTS

31’ – CHANCE GENOA! After forcing a cheap corner out of Kean, Destro wins the header in front of goal but guides it over the bar. The best chance so far for the hosts.

45’+1 – PORTANOVA STRIKES FROM RANGE! And Szczesny beats it away! That was a great effort from the winger against his former club. The Juventus goalkeeper has been called into action a few times in the last couple minutes after a quiet half.

48’ – GOAL! GENOA 0-1 JUVENTUS (DYBALA): And what a strike it is! He finds the bottom corner from roughly 25 yards out. That’s his ninth goal against Genoa.

87’ – GOAL! GENOA 1-1 JUVENTUS (GUDMUNDSSON): His first for Genoa and what a time to get it! A cool finish gives Szczesny no chance!

90’+6 – GOAL! GENOA 2-1 JUVENTUS (CRISCITO): Incredible scenes! A huge moment for Genoa! Criscito buries the penalty in the bottom left corner.

KEY STAT

  • 115 – Paulo Dybala scored his 115th goal for Juventus, equalling Roberto Baggio (9th place each in the all time Bianconeri scorers ranking). (Opta).

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Criscito nets late penalty to fire relegation-threatened Genoa to win over Juventus

An injury-time penalty from Domenico Criscito fired relegation-threatened Genoa to a 2-1 win over Juventus.

Genoa trailed with three minutes left on the clock, but Albert Gudmundsson drew them level and Criscito fired home from the spot deep in injury time for three points as they battle to avoid the drop.

After a slow start to the half with Juventus controlling the majority of the possession, Genoa gradually grew into the game towards the end of the opening 45 minutes.

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The best chance of the half fell to striker Mattia Destro, who headed a corner over from close-range.

Wojciech Szczesny, who had little to do in the first 40 minutes, found himself called into action three times as the first half drew to a close, giving Genoa confidence going into the second period.

Destro continued to prove problematic, and forced a strong save out of Szczesny on the stroke of half time after a speculative long-range effort was beaten away by the Poland international.

Genoa had another chance through Destro 60 seconds into the second half, but after meeting a fizzed delivery across the box, blazed his first-time effort over the bar.

Two minutes later Juventus took the lead through Paulo Dybala, who scored his ninth goal against Genoa in spectacular fashion. He picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and crafted a pinpoint strike towards the far post, before nestling into the bottom left corner.

Juventus were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute when substitute Marley Ake was fouled by Gudmundsson, but a quick VAR check showed he got enough of the ball for the referee to overturn the decision.

Minutes later Gudmundsson levelled the score with a neat finish beyond Szczesny.

The host’s were awarded a penalty deep into injury-time, which was dispatched by club captain Criscito to complete the comeback and earn a valuable three points for Genoa.

With two games remaining, Genoa have hope in the battle to stay up.

TALKING POINT – HUGE COMEBACK WIN FOR GENOA

The odds remain stacked against them in the relegation battle, but a late double wrapped up all three points for the hosts, who needed them now more than ever. With three minutes to go it looked like they were heading for defeat, and potential relegation on Sunday, but an Albert Gudmundsson goal turned the tide before captain Domenico Criscito kept his cool to dispatch a penalty deep into added time.

Relegation rivals Cagliari and Salernitana face-off this weekend, but for now Genoa sit just a point from safety with two games to go. They’ve taken their chance and it could be worth top-flight football next season.

MAN OF THE MATCH – PAULO DYBALA (JUVENTUS)

The Argentine was the best player on the pitch by a distance. He was replaced when Juventus were leading and in cruise control, with Max Allegri likely having one eye on Wednesday’s Coppa Italia final, but outclassed his opposition throughout the game.

He took his goal exceptionally, showing elite precision to find the bottom corner from 25 yards out, and almost repeated the strike later on in the game, but was denied by the post. The goal was his 115th for Juventus, and ninth against Genoa.

MATCH RATINGS

GENOA: Sirigu 7, Hefti 7, Bani 6, Ostigard 6, Criscito 8, Galdames 6, Badelj 6, Melegoni 6, Amiri 7, Portanova 8, Destro 7

Subs: Yeboah 5, Gudmundsson 8, Ekuban 5, Frendrup 5

JUVENTUS: Szczesny 6, Cuadrado 6, Bonucci 7, Rugani 6, De Sciglio 7, Arthur 5, Miretti 6, Rabiot 6, Dybala 9*, Vlahovic 7, Kean 5

Subs: Sandro 5, Ake N/A, Morata 6, Bernardeschi 5, Zakaria 5

KEY MOMENTS

31’ – CHANCE GENOA! After forcing a cheap corner out of Kean, Destro wins the header in front of goal but guides it over the bar. The best chance so far for the hosts.

45’+1 – PORTANOVA STRIKES FROM RANGE! And Szczesny beats it away! That was a great effort from the winger against his former club. The Juventus goalkeeper has been called into action a few times in the last couple minutes after a quiet half.

48’ – GOAL! GENOA 0-1 JUVENTUS (DYBALA): And what a strike it is! He finds the bottom corner from roughly 25 yards out. That’s his ninth goal against Genoa.

87’ – GOAL! GENOA 1-1 JUVENTUS (GUDMUNDSSON): His first for Genoa and what a time to get it! A cool finish gives Szczesny no chance!

90’+6 – GOAL! GENOA 2-1 JUVENTUS (CRISCITO): Incredible scenes! A huge moment for Genoa! Criscito buries the penalty in the bottom left corner.

KEY STAT

  • 115 – Paulo Dybala scored his 115th goal for Juventus, equalling Roberto Baggio (9th place each in the all time Bianconeri scorers ranking). (Opta).

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Hamsik: ‘Insigne and I have a similar story at Napoli’

Napoli legend Marek Hamsik sees similarities between his and Lorenzo Insigne’s farewell to the club and confirms he snubbed moves to Juventus, Milan and Inter.

Hamsik left Napoli in February 2019 after becoming the player with the most appearances and goals across all competitions. His contract at the club would have expired in 2020.

“It was a huge love story. I have many friends at the club. I talk to Aurelio De Laurentiis when I can, who has always shown me his affection. I am in touch with Maurizio Micheli, Napoli’s chief scout. I owe him a lot. He is the one who brought me to Italy [at Brescia] for the first time,” he told Il Corriere dello Sport.

Hamsik didn’t have a proper farewell game before leaving the club and sees similarities between his farewell and Lorenzo Insigne’s. The Italy international will join Toronto as a free agent in June.

“Lorenzo’s history is very similar to mine. Everything happened very quickly, the season was ongoing when I left,” said Hamsik.

“However, it’s never too late to meet again, perhaps we could organise a game at the San Paolo [Stadio Maradona now]. If they want me to return with a role at the club after the end of my career, I’d be ready.

“I didn’t forget anything. The Coppa Italia, the Supercups, emotions, memories. A Serie A title would have been deserved, we were really close.”

Massimiliano Allegri wanted to sign Hamsik at Milan and Juventus, while Walter Mazzarri tried to bring him to Inter, but Hamsik never thought about leaving Naples.

“Now I can say that I was proud to attract interest from an important coach such as Allegri,” he said.

“I never talked to him directly, but I know he considered me worthy of playing with him and that he would be pleased [to have me in his teams].”

“Inter? I can’t deny it, but I never thought about leaving Napoli. I could have never done it.”

Hamsik