Inter's Europa League hopes fall short with late loss at Genoa

Published May. 23, 2015 4:39 p.m. ET

Juraj Kucka's 89th-minute header lifted Genoa to a 3-2 win over Inter Milan after the Grifoni twice hit back from a goal down.

With the game seemingly heading for a draw, with neither side able to find the net in the second half after sharing four goals in a thrilling opening 45 minutes, Kucka sealed victory. Inter had earlier taken leads through Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio, but they were cancelled out quickly by Leonardo Pavoletti and Maxime Lestienne respectively.

The home side made an enterprising start, with Lestienne cutting in from the left and forcing Samir Handanovic to parry away in the opening five minutes. Inter's goalkeeper made an even better start to deny Lestienne's point-blank header after Inter had failed to clear their lines from a Tomas Rincon cross.

Despite creating the clear cut openings, Genoa fell behind to the first serious threat Inter had at goal. Icardi outjumped Sebastian De Maio and the ball fell to the feet of the Inter attacker, who prodded the ball past Mattia Perin before tapping into an unguarded net in the 19th minute.

It was the Argentinian's 20th goal of the season, but the lead did not last long, with Pavoletti deservedly hauling Genoa level five minutes later. The on-loan Sassuolo forward collected the ball on the edge of the area and his turn and low half-volley nestled in the corner of the net.

Roberto Mancini's men regained the lead on the half hour, though, as Palacio burst through on goal before calmly slotting past Perin. Pavoletti rattled the bar with a lovely volley as Genoa fought once again to find an equaliser and it duly arrived four minutes before the break in fortuitous circumstances.

Handanovic and Inter captain Andrea Ranocchia were involved in a horrible mix-up to cut out an innocuous pass, leaving Lestienne to gratefully tap into an empty net. Chances were at a premium in a slower start to the second half although Pavoletti missed a gilt-edged chance when a free-kick fell into his path, only for him to volley straight at Handanovic.


The Slovenian was left stranded by Iago Falque's header which only narrowly missed the target as Genoa continued to turn the screw. They were rewarded when Kucka headed across Handanovic in the 89th minute to give them all three points which temporarily moves them up to fifth and into the Europa League spots.