Genoa 1-2 AC Milan: Reina penalty save hands Giampaolo a lifeline

Marco Giampaolo’s chances of keeping his position at AC Milan were boosted as his side came from behind to beat Genoa 2-1 in Serie A.

Pepe Reina atoned for two calamitous mistakes as his late penalty save saw AC Milan secure a remarkable 2-1 win over Genoa to hand under-pressure coach Marco Giampaolo a reprieve.

Reina, a late replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, gifted Lasse Schone an opener four minutes before the interval when he bundled in a free-kick.

Milan scored twice in the space of six second-half minutes to turn the game on its head, however – Theo Hernandez thumping in from a tight angle six minutes after the restart before Franck Kessie converted a VAR-assisted penalty.

The referee, who also dismissed substitutes Riccardo Saponara and Samu Castillejo, deemed Davide Biraschi’s handball for that penalty was worthy of a straight red card, though Milan’s numerical advantage disappeared when Davide Calabria received his marching orders.

Calabria’s indiscipline looked set to cost Milan dearly when Reina charged in recklessly on Christian Kouame but, in another dramatic twist, the goalkeeper made a superb save from Schone’s spot-kick to secure a vital triumph.

Reina kept the scores level when he denied Lukas Lerager early on, but he was to blame as Schone opened the scoring.

Though Schone’s free-kick had some swerve, it should have proved a simple take for Reina, only for the former Napoli man to let the strike squirm out of his arms.

Cristian Romero missed a great chance for Genoa before half-time, before Saponara was sent off from the bench for complaining that the referee had not stopped the match for a head injury.

Krzysztof Piatek’s ineffective return to Genoa was cut short at half-time, after which the visitors’ fortunes improved, with Hernandez lashing home the equaliser.

The turnaround was complete two minutes later as Piatek’s replacement Rafael Leao forced a handball from Biraschi, who saw red after the penalty was awarded following a VAR check.

Kessie made no mistake from 12 yards, but – having drawn a foul from Calabria which saw the Milan defender receive a second booking – Kouame won an 89th-minute penalty as he went down under pressure from Reina.

But Reina made amends, plunging low to his right to parry Schone’s effort wide and save the day for Giampaolo.

What does it mean? Giampaolo back from the brink

A loss would have left Milan with five defeats from their opening seven league games – their worst start since 1938-38. With the Giampaolo project already under severe strain, his time may well have been up.

However, this turnaround – and the manner of it – could have just spared the former Sampdoria coach, though his Genoa counterpart Aurelio Andreazzoli, whose side sit 19th, may not be so lucky.

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