Genoa sack Malesani after fan protests

Serie A strugglers Genoa have today sacked coach Alberto Malesani after just three games back in charge and appointed Luigi De Canio as his replacement.

Serie A strugglers Genoa have today sacked coach Alberto Malesani after just three games back in charge and appointed Luigi De Canio as his replacement.

Yesterday’s 4-1 defeat to Siena left Genoa just one place and one point clear of the relegation zone with five games remaining.

A statement from Genoa said: “The coaching change is official. After Alberto Malesani, here is Gigi De Canio.

“The new coach has guided his first training session today in Milan.”

Malesani started the season at Genoa but was dismissed before the Christmas break following a demoralising 6-1 loss at Napoli.

The veteran coach was reappointed earlier this month in place of Pasquale Marino but failed to guide Genoa to victory during his brief spell.

Genoa have not won a game since February 5 and have taken just six points – all from draws – since then.

Sunday’s Serie A game at the Luigi Ferraris stadium was stopped for 45 minutes with Genoa trailing 4-0 early in the second half after a group of home fans threatened to invade the pitch.

The angry group told their players they were not worthy of wearing the jersey and demanded them to take off their shirts, and they acquiesced.

The fans then retreated from the tunnel and allowed the game to continue.

The club's decision to have players remove their shirts and give them to unruly fans was met by fierce criticism from Massimo Mazza, the city's head of police.

“I told my deputy to tell the club that I was totally against this action,” Mazza said. “My deputy referred it twice to the club, but they opted for a different decision.”

Genoa president Enrico Preziosi defended his club’s decision.

“Yesterday we used good sense to avoid a worst-case scenario,” Preziosi said to Gazzetta dello Sport. “I only said that if we had to give the jerseys to the fans, we could replace them by other ones and hence, we would have given them as gifts in order for the fans to be calm.”

The police have yet to make any arrests while the Lega Serie A have punished Genoa by forcing them to play their next two home Serie A games – against Cagliari on May 2 and against Palermo on May 13 – behind closed doors.

Genoa travel to the San Siro on Wednesday to face Scudetto hopefuls AC Milan in what will be De Canio’s first game in charge.

The 54-year-old tactician, who guided Genoa in the 2003-04 campaign, had been out of a job since parting company with Lecce last summer.

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