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Juventus 3-2 Genoa (aet): Youngster Rafia puts Bianconeri into last eight

Hamza Rafia scored the winner on his debut as Juventus needed extra time to beat Genoa 3-2 and reach the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia.

A much-changed Juve side were a cut above Serie A strugglers Genoa in the first half at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday, but made hard work of setting up a last-eight tie against Sassuolo or SPAL.

Dejan Kulusevski was outstanding in the opening 45 minutes, scoring inside two minutes and laying on a second goal for Alvaro Morata.

Lennart Czyborra pulled a goal back from out of the blue in an otherwise one-sided first half and Filippo Melegoni later equalised, but 21-year-old Tunisia international Rafia came off the bench to settle the tie late in the first half of extra time.

Kulusevski got the Turin giants off to a dream start, controlling an incisive pass from Giorgio Chiellini superbly with his right foot and firing home with his left.

Genoa were unable to live with Juve’s intensity and Kulusevski was denied by Alberto Paleari when he went one-on-one with the Genoa goalkeeper, but Morata was on target 23 minutes in.

Kulusevski turned provider on this occasion, helping another pinpoint ball from Chiellini into the Spanish striker’s path with a sublime cushioned pass and Morata kept his composure to beat Paleari at his near post.

Juve were totally dominant but Czyborra got Genoa back in it when he stole in at the back post to head home Edoardo Goldaniga’s cross totally against the run of play, before Arthur and Manolo Portanova had goals ruled out for offside in a pulsating first half.

Paleari kept out Morata’s shot at his near post early in the second half, but Genoa were almost level when Marko Pjaca rattled the crossbar from outside the penalty area.

Davide Ballardini’s men got back on terms after 74 minutes, though, Melegoni curling beyond Gianluigi Buffon from around 25 yards out with a measured right-footed finish.

Pirlo introduced Cristiano Ronaldo and, although Juve were unable to advance in 90 minutes, Rafia bundled in off Lukas Lerager after Morata had cut the ball back.

Arthur nodded off the line as Genoa fought until the end and Kulusevski could have settled it, but Juve held on to advance.


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