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Genoa-Milan Preview: Haunted House


The Stadio Communale Luigi Ferraris, more commonly called the Marassi, is different than many stadiums. Not only is it a tough stadium for opposing fans to come to and win, but in a way, it’s haunted. In December of 2011, when we played there, tear gas delayed the match. Last year, I wrote about it on another blog after Genoa fans stopped a match and demanded their players’ shirts, saying they weren’t worthy to wear them. Fan violence for Serie A and International teams alike is not at all uncommon at the Marassi. But technically, it could be considered haunted. You may or may not have heard of a Genoa fan called Vincenzo Spagnolo. In a clash of fans in 1995, a Milan fan stabbed Spagnolo to death near the stadium. So not only could it literally be haunted, but Genoa fans are not exactly thrilled when Milan fans come to town.

There are always strange things brewing at this stadium
Our encounter in Genoa will be filled with many ghosts, too. Amelia, Constant, Nocerino, and El Shaarawy have each played for Genoa for at least one season and so will be familiar with the horrors awaiting us there. As for Genoa, their Milan ghosts include a couple of former Milan youth sector players in Donnarumma and Antonelli as well as one big Milan ghost, who is always willing to haunt us: Borriello.

But who even needs ghosts when your team are playing well? Davide Ballardino, having replaced Gigi Del Neri in January, has returned to the club he managed the year we won the Scudetto, with a spell at Cagliari in between for good measure. Genoa are coming off of a 3-1 defeat away to Roma last weekend. But prior to that, they had an impressive 5 game undefeated streak, including a big draw with Juve, a victory over Lazio, a draw with Parma, win over Udinese, and a scoreless draw vs. Palermo. However their earlier season failures have them just one place above the relegation zone, so they will be fighting for their lives.

Ballardini has Genoa in great form and fighting for their Serie A lives

Against Roma, Ballardini lined up Frey; Bovo, Moretti, Portanova; Vargas, Antonelli, Tözsér, Kucka, Pisano; Borriello, and Bertolacci. Kucka was sent off in that match, and thus will be suspended tomorrow. Also reportedly not available due to injury are Matuzalém, Rubén, M. Rossi, Floro Flores, and Nadarevic. While missing the injured players is something Ballardini should be comfortable with by now, the loss of Kucka is probably a big blow. However, do not put it past this tenacious Genoa side to be able to punish us regardless.

Allegri has a bizarre conundrum in that I believe he is only missing De Jong and Didac Vila to injury. Constant, Balotelli, Antonini, and Bonera all returned to training in the last day or two and should be available to him tomorrow. Balotelli’s contusion could keep him from starting, but I would expect him to sub on if he does not get the start. I would like to think that Allegri would consider resting some players for Tuesday’s Champions League game, but when was the last time you saw him do that?

Let's hope these ghosts come back to haunt Genoa

So, out of being completely clueless as to what Allegri will do with basically an entire squad at his disposal, I’m going to let you guess the lineup for tomorrow. You will undoubtedly be better than me, anyway. This may be one week Allegri uses his unorthodox methods to select the lineup anyway.

This match will be a tough one. Not just for going to the Haunted House that is the Marassi, but especially because Genoa are fighting for their Serie A lives. Sure, we may be friendly with Preziosi and he may set us up with some great transfer deals, but on the pitch we are a hated enemy, and there will be no favors. It’s going to be up to our boys to shake off the ghosts and strike fear and terror into il Grifone. And to prove to us and everyone else that our run of form is not just some fluke, but the Rossoneri quality shining through. Maybe the Marassi is haunted, but it doesn’t stop us from storming the place and rightfully taking 3 points to help us stay on track for Champions League qualification next year. Who’s afraid of a spooky old stadium? Not Milan.


This post inspired by the Psychedelic Furs “The Ghost in You”


Genoa vs. Milan
Friday, March 8  20:45 CET (2:45 EST)
This match is being shown LIVE on BeIn Sport  and RAI in the U.S.
(check comments for stream links prior to the match)