Genoa on track to booking Champions League ticket

A common myth that needs to be laid to rest is that the trains always ran on time when Benito was in charge. They never did and, generally, they still don’t. But when they do it’s like having your birthday and Christmas all come at once. It’s especially true when gliding through the Italian countryside on a Friday morning at something in the region of 300km per hour in the lavish comfort of Trenitalia’s appropriately-named Red Arrow train.It is certainly the age of the train – connecting Milan with Rome in a mere three and a half hours, cutting a good hour off the old time.

"Oi! I specifically asked for a window seat..."

The reason for an early-ish start, apart from beating the rush to escape the grey skies of the north, is to hit the capital for the Champions League qualification showdown between Roma and Genoa.

Genoa have had a good run, in fact an amazing run, but is it all set to come to an end this weekend?Il Grifone are currently in fourth place but aren’t making the sort of noises that would suggest they are set to storm the Eternal City.“It’s not a Champions League play-off,” whispered mild-mannered coach Gian Piero Gasperini in an interview earlier in the week. OK, it may have been said to take the pressure of his players. However, the Romans are seeing the game entirely differently. “It’s a Cup final,” growled Giallorossi director Bruno Conti, fresh from tearing Christian Panucci limb from limb.

Genoa: Targeting place at Europe's top table

Without being overly dramatic, this game could well make or break both side’s seasons. But if hadn’t been for a bit of match-fixing then Genoa could already be old hands at this sort of thing.

Back in 2005, two goals from Diego Milito helped secure a win at Vicenza to gain promotion to Serie A after a 10-year absence. However, a Vicenza director was subsequently nabbed leaving one of, Genoa president, Enrico Preziosi’s toy factories with his pockets stuffed with cash rather than cuddly bears. Naughty Genoa were banished to the third division and Milito exiled to Spain.Certainly not very British for a club whose roots are so English and are officially Genoa Cricket and Football club, but that’s all in the past and maybe they won’t miss the train this time around.

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