Genoa completed another incredible comeback from 2-0 down to lead Hellas Verona 3-2 in front of the club’s new owners, but Nikola Kalinic snatched a 3-3 equaliser in stoppages.
The mood was enthusiastic at Marassi, as Genoa President Enrico Preziosi had sold the club after 18 years to American investors 777 Partners, representatives who saluted the supporters before kick-off.
The team was doing well too, showing a never-say-die attitude with comebacks, despite missing Felipe Caicedo, Stefano Sturaro and Francesco Cassata. Verona had sacked Eusebio Di Francesco after the opening three defeats, Igor Tudor taking them to four points from his two games. Miguel Veloso, Gianluca Frabotta and Kevin Ruegg were still injured and Nikola Kalinic dropped.
Although Genoa had the stronger start, it was Hellas who broke the deadlock with a former Grifone player. Ivan Ilic sparked the move in midfield and Giovanni Simeone leapt above two defenders to nod in the Marco Davide Faraoni cross from the right.
Davide Biraschi made a decisive interception to stop Simeone going clear on goal, but largely the hosts were extremely ineffective.
Straight after the restart, Nikola Maksimovic was late in a clumsy challenge on Simeone and trod on his foot rather than get the ball, so after a VAR review the referee opted for a penalty, which Antonin Barak converted.
Verona almost added a third on the counter, Kevin Lasagna’s angled drive beaten away after a well-worked team move, while Sirigu parried a Barak free kick.
Genoa had several comebacks already this season and that belief was sparked again when Domenico Criscito converted a penalty through the middle, for Pawel Dawidowicz’s flailing arm handling offence.
Just three minutes later, it was 2-2, Nicolò Rovella floating a free kick into the box for Mattia Destro’s glancing header in off the inside of the far post.
It was suddenly wide open, Destro’s shot charged down and Sirigu flying for a desperate one-handed save on Lasagna’s curler.
Destro turned the game around completely after this crazy eight-minute spell with a moment of sheer class, turning Koray Gunter inside out and cheekily dinking the finish over on-rushing Lorenzo Montipò. In truly bizarre fashion, Destro had been getting rehydrated when the ball suddenly came in his direction, so scored the goal while holding a bottle of water in his hand.
Verona would not let it go either and Nicolò Casale whipped in a cross for Nikola Kalinic’s relatively free header for 3-3.
There was one more chance to get all three points, Caleb Ekuban’s shot deflected off Goran Pandev, but Montipo’ was able to smother.
Genoa 3-3 Verona
Simeone 8 (V), Barak pen 49 (V), Criscito pen 77 (G), Destro 80, 85 (G), Kalinic 91 (V)