Luca Antonelli haunts AC Milan as Genoa claim victory


Genoa returned to third place in the Serie A table after Luca Antonelli's goal condemned AC Milan to their third defeat of the season. Napoli's failure to beat Empoli earlier on Sunday meant the final Champions League place was up for grabs and Genoa took it back thanks to former Milan defender Antonelli, whose first-half header proved sufficient to settle a 1-0 home victory. Milan suffered their first loss on the road this term but remain in the hunt for a European berth nonetheless. Jeremy Menez – the scorer of four goals in his previous three games – looked particularly keen to extend his recent hot streak and twice went close inside the first 30 minutes of play at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin managed to repel his powerful drive at the end of a storming 40-yard dribble and, in the 27th minute, he got down to smother the ball after Menez had picked out the bottom corner. The Grifoni bit back and went close through both Stefano De Maio, who headed just over the crossbar from a corner, and Andrea Bertolacci – the Italy midfielder saw his snapshot clatter off Diego Lopez's legs. Undeterred, Genoa kept pushing forward and duly opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. It was Antonelli who rose higher than any Milan defender to beat Lopez with his head, thus notching his second goal in as many games. Milan could have pegged their hosts back before the break but Perin blocked Philippe Mexes' attempt to find the bottom corner before pouncing on a rasping drive from Giacomo Bonaventura. Mexes proved dangerous once again when play resumed, his attempt to convert Keisuke Honda's blocked free-kick giving Perin real food for thought. Genoa winger Diego Perotti then did all the hard work to cut inside from the left and pick out Iago Falque, but the former Tottenham player could not find the target from a few yards out. Facundo Roncaglia led Genoa's next charge and was unlucky to scoop the ball over the bar before on-loan Milan striker Alessandro Matri failed to hurt his parent club as he blasted wide of a post under pressure from Mexes. Dutch midfielder Nigel de Jong could not quite catch Perin by surprise with an attempt from outside the box and Milan finally realised the draw was beyond them when Bonaventura clipped M'Baye Niang's cross well over.