Yesterday Genoa presented the list of 25 players that represent the team in the play-offs of Europa League on 20th and 27th August against Odense BK. Because of the virus of Palladino and the injuries of Floccari and Jankovic our coach Mr. Gasperini and his staff only had 3 healthy forwards left in the team. For this reason Luciano Figueroa was asked to stay a little longer in Italy, which he accepted. The list of 25 players, including 4 yougsters* that raised in the youth of Genoa which is an obligation of Uefa:
GOALKEEPERS: Marco Amelia, Danilo Russo*, Alessio Scarpi
DEFENDERS: Giuseppe Biava, Salvatore Bocchetti, Domenico Criscito*, Andrea Esposito, Ivan Fatic, Alessio Grea*, Emiliano Moretti, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Nenad Tomovic
MIDFIELDERS: Mattia Ferraro*, Ivan Juric, Houssine Kharja, Giandomenico Mesto, Francesco Modesto, Omar Milanetto, Marco Rossi, Alberto Zapater
FORWARDS: Hernan Crespo, Luciano Figueroa, Sergio Floccari, Rodrigo Palacio, Giuseppe Sculli
The 2 substitutes are the young forwards: Stephan El Shaarawy and Dejan Lazarevic
After 2 matches without scoring a goal, since yesterday Genoa knows how to score again. Our red and blue team beat Pro Vercelli (Serie C-2) by 0-6 with goals of Sculli (2), Crespo (2), Juric and Figueroa. The friendly Argentinian returned in the team of Mr. Gasperini because both Sergio Floccari and Bosko Jankovic are heavily injured and nearly sure not able to play against Odense. Because also Raffaele Palladino is not recovered yet of his misterious virus, Mr. Gasperini has only 3 line-up forwards left in his team: Sculli, Crespo and Palacio. With Figueroa (wants to return to Argentina) and El Shaarawy (only 16 years) we have 2 substitutes but maybe Genoa returns on the transfermarket.
Without underrating Odense BK (Denmark) we can be happy with this opponent in the play-off in Europa League. Genoa was divided in the 6th poule with the following 5 seeded possible opponents: Zenit St. Petersburg (Uefa-Cup winner in 2008), Aston Villa, Steaua Boekarest, Sparta Praag and Odense BK. The drawing gave us Odense BK, the last seeded team at number 38, just 0.308 points above Genoa on the 40th position. The first match is on Thursday 20th August in Luigi Ferraris, the return 1 week later in the Danish city of Hans Christian Andersen, 750 kilometres of Amsterdam.
Tomorrow in Nyon the drawing of the playoff round of Europa League takes place at 13.30 hours. The 38 strongest teams with the highest ranking play against the 38 teams with the lowest ranking. Because Uefa decided that the points of the team itselves this year are more important than the points of the country, Genoa is ranked at the 40th position with 12.582 points, which means we have to play first at home at 20th August against one of the following teams (in order of ranking):
01. Werder Bremen (91.339); 02. Villarreal (80.853); 03. Roma (78.582); 04. PSV(75.826); 05. Šjaktar Donetsk (74.370); 06. Zenit St. Petersburg (68.525); 07. Hamburg (67.339); 08. Benfica (64.292); 09. Valencia (59.853); 10. Ajax (54.826); 11. Steaua Boekarest (53.781); 12. Fenerbahçe (52.445); 13. Basel (51.050); 14. Lille (47.033); 15. Everton (35.899); 16. Club Brugge (34.065); 17. Heerenveen (33.826); 18. Galatasaray (33.445); 19. Austria Wien (31.565); 20. Lazio (26.582); 21. Hertha BSC (26.339); 22. Sparta Praag (26.150); 23. Dinamo Boekarest (25.781); 24. AEK Athene (25.633); 25. Slavia Praag (25.150); 26. Metalist (24.370); 27. Aston Villa (23.899); 28. Athletic Bilbao (23.853); 29. FK Partizan Belgrado (23.050); 30. Hapoel Tel Aviv (18.050); 31. Twente (17.826); 32. Dinamo Zagreb (16.466); 33. Litex Lovech (16.250); 34. Fulham (15.899); 35. CSKA Sofia (14.250); 36. Toulouse FC (14.033); 37. CFR Cluj (13.781); 38. Odense (12.890).
Because Genoa can not play against one of the other Italian teams: Roma and Lazio we have 36 possible opponents including 4 Dutch: PSV, Ajax, Heerenveen and Twente and 1 team of Belgium: Club Brugge.
Today everybody was surprised by the exchange of goalkeepers between Palermo (Amelia) and Genoa (Rubinho). Everybody knew that Rubinho refused to enlarge his contract that ends next year and we all read that Mr. Preziosi wanted to pay him a higher salary because of Ruby’s improval last season, but nobody every thought about an exchange with Marco Amelia of Palermo. Amelia asked his President Mr. Zamparini permission to return to the North of Italy and to let him play in Europe because he wants to keep his position as second goalkeeper of the National team of Italy behind Buffon. Now both goalkeepers and both clubs are happy, but our Mr. Gasperini has to create a complete new hart of the team with the departure of Rubinho, Ferrari, Motta and Milito.
In the meanwhile Genoa also found a new shirtsponsor with the Italian Fashion company Gaudi Trade and Wednesday we draw 0-0 against Reggiana (Serie C-1) in Reggio Emilia.
After beating Acqui Terme by 0-6 last Wednesday (2 goals of Milanetto; Fatic, Juric, Rossi and Modesto all scored once) yesterday Genoa played in Piëmonte against Olympique Nice of the France Ligue 1. De match started with a delay of half an hour because of an attack of 400 French (and Torino ?) hooligans against the Genoa-supporters. A cowardly action because 95% of the Genoani were formed by families with children.
Genoa played a good match in the first 45 minutes with a big chance to Hernan Crespo who failed to score. Between the 55th and 60th minute 3 big mistakes of the Genoa-defence, so 3 goals to Nice. In the last half an hour a lot of players were substituted but the score did not change any more: 0-3. Next week Ligue 1 starts in France and Olympique Nice is ready to start, Mr. Gasperini still has 18 days before our first important match at Thursday 20th Augustus in Europa League (drawing next Friday). In the meanwhile Genoa already sold 20.200 seasontickets, so we are close to last season with 22.856 and the all-time record of 23.125 in the last Uefa-Cup season 91-92.
Mr. Preziosi gave our coach Gian Piero Gasperini the 2 players he wanted the most. A real substitute to Matteo Ferrari who left Genoa to Besiktas (Turkey), 23 years old central defender Andrea Esposito of Lecce. The young defender already was selected this summer by Italian National team coach Lippi to play the match against Northern Ireland. The tall (1.91) and strong (85 kilos) defender was wanted by a lot of Serie A teams and already signed a pre-contract last month with A.S. Roma, but finally choose Genoa.
For years our team missed a real substitute to Ivan Juric, a defensive midfielder with a great tactical vision who can ‘read the match’. In Alberto Zapater the 24 years old captain of Real Zaragoza (Spain) we finally found him. The symbol of Real Zaragoza who was raised in the youth of the club choose Genoa after having several times contact with his former teammate with Zaragoza our topscorer of last year Diego Milito. The midfielder is named El Toro (The Bull) in Spain and was captain of his Spanish team.
Tonight Genoa plays at 18.00 hours against Olympique Nice (Serie A in France).