Roma scraped victory at Marassi with 18-year-old Felix Afena-Gyan making his mark with a sensational brace, ruining the debut of new Genoa boss Andriy Shevchenko.
There were huge personnel problems for both coaches, as the hosts missed Domenico Criscito, Felipe Caicedo, Mattia Destro, Mohamed Fares, Nikola Maksimovic and more. Sheva stuck with predecessor Davide Ballardini’s three-man defence, while Jose Mourinho lost Bryan Cristante and Gonzalo Villar to COVID-19 yesterday, joining injured Matias Vina, Riccardo Calafiori and Leonardo Spinazzola, so moved to 3-5-2.
Eldor Shomurodov faced his former club and nodded Jordan Veretout’s cross over from six yards in the opening minutes.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan unleashed a screamer from the edge of the box that took a deflection, but the referee spotted immediately the touch was off Tammy Abraham’s hand, so the goal was disallowed.
Shomurodov blazed another huge opportunity over the bar when laid off by Stephan El Shaarawy on the counter, then had a chance charged down at the dawn of the second half.
Mkhitaryan three times blasted high and wide from promising positions, but for the most part Roma enjoyed only sterile possession.
Genoa almost took the lead on 72 minutes, El Shaarawy having to make a desperate block to prevent Stefano Sturaro bundling the Johan Vasquez cross over the line from a couple of yards, allowing Rui Patricio to make the save.
Mkhitaryan adjusted his aim, a daisy-cutter deflected inches wide, but the deadlock was finally broken in the closing stages when the Armenian went on a mazy run past defenders, spread it down the right and 18-year-old Felix Afena-Gyan fired in the angled drive with the inside of the right boot for his debut Serie A goal. The Ghanaian became the first player born in 2003 to score in the Italian top flight and it was only his third appearance.
The night got even more special for Afena-Gyan, as he then unleashed an astonishing right-foot curler from distance that bent into the far top corner for 2-0 with the last kick of the game. Even the teenager seemed genuinely shocked at what he had just achieved.
Genoa 0-2 Roma
Afena-Gyan 82, 93 (R)