Hellas Verona overcome a plucky Genoa and dare to dream beyond salvation
#1. An unconventional attack: The news that Verona would play without a recognised striker (Stepinksi, Di Carmine and Pazzini all started on the bench) was met with some incredulity before kick-off. Instead, Juric started with Pessina, Verre and Zaccagni up front. His unconventional selection was vindicated by the fine performance of his inexperienced frontline, each of whom made a decisive contribution to the outcome of the game.
#2. Wonky white lines: Generating more pre-match incredulity than Juric's team selection, the news that kick-off would be delayed by 15 minutes because the penalty box lines were judged by the referee to be unfit for purpose. Some quick remedial work with the paintbrush and it was good to go.
#3. Pessina - a refined performance: Matteo Pessina was one of those included at the expense of an out and out striker, and it was easy to see why Juric is keen to include the youngster in his starting eleven. After deputising ably for Amrabat last week, the versatile youngster played a bit higher up the pitch and delivered another refined performance. Highlights included a sublime cross field pass to set up Lazovic in the first half and then an acrobatic volley - only denied by a remarkable save by Perin. The young Atlanta loanee is player to keep an eye on.
#4. Zaccagni - a decisive contribution: While Verona's revamped frontline each made a significant contribution, Mattia Zaccagni's was perhaps the most decisive. He won the penalty (which Verre converted) to equalise and was in the right place at the right time to score the winner - his first goal in Serie A. A rousing applause greeted him when he made way for Pazzini with just a few minutes remaining on the clock, just reward for a decisive contribution.
#5. Salvation and beyond: Three points against a plucky Genoa team sees Hellas move ahead of Napoli and Milan in the league table and towards the much coveted European slots. While salvation remains the stated objective, surely now is the time to cast a hopeful glance upwards towards promised land of European glory!
Next up for Hellas - a short trip to Bologna on Sunday afternoon.