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Apr, 23, 2012

Another managerial change at Genoa

Genoa have sacked Alberto Malesani for the second time this season after Sunday's 4-1 defeat to Siena, with Luigi De Canio drafted in for his own second spell at the relegation-threatened club.

Malesani was originally axed last December with Genoa in 10th place in Serie A but his successor fared significantly worse, Pasquale Marino taking the Rossoblu down to 16th in the table.

Genoa called on Malesani again on April 2 in a desperate bid to help steer them away from the relegation zone, but two draws and a defeat in the subsequent three games have left the club just a point ahead of 17th-placed Lecce and president Enrico Preziosi has intervened once more.

De Canio last managed Genoa in 2004, helping the club avoid relegation from Serie B, and with five games remaining his task is simple: keep the Rossoblu up again.

"De Canio is the new coach of Genoa," Preziosi told Radio Anch'io lo Sport. "He'll take charge of his first training session this morning [Monday]."

Genoa have now made four managerial changes since the end of last season, with the total number of managerial changes in Serie A since the end of 2010-11 rising to 29.

De Canio's first match in charge of Genoa comes away to reigning champions AC Milan this Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Rossoblu president Preziosi has defended the club's decision to have players remove their shirts during Sunday's defeat to Siena and give them to unruly fans.

The 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 the players they were not worthy of wearing the shirts and demanded they take them off and they acquiesced.

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

"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 move was heavily criticised by Massimo Mazza, Genoa's head of police, who said: "We had the right number of policemen and there was no pitch invasion.

"When that group of fans told the players to take off their jerseys, I told my deputy to tell the club that I was totally against this. My deputy referred it twice to the club, who opted for a different decision.''

The president of the Lega Serie A Maurizio Beretta has called for the fans that created the trouble to be punished, adding: "It would be very important to show that those that were involved in those acts are made to answer for what they did.

"In the meantime, we have to apply the maximum punishment that is available. It's not sufficient to hand a stadium ban. We must be able to stop those individuals that damage football and Genoa.''

The Lega Serie A announced on Monday afternoon that Genoa must play their next two home games behind closed doors as punishment for the crowd trouble against Siena.

A statement from the Lega Serie A read: "In view of what occurred, and of the concrete possibility that in the remaining home games of this season there is a chance that this violent atmosphere could be recreated, we punish Genoa CFC to be forced to play their next two home games behind closed doors.''

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