ITALY: Dany Mota nets ‘Goal of the Season’ contender, as Vitinha makes breakthrough amid “one of the most difficult moments of my life”

Saturday evening’s match between Monza and Genoa was not only one of the more entertaining encounters of the Serie A weekend, but it was also a significant occasion for Portuguese strikers representing both sides.

Monza came away with the spoils in a five-goal thriller, winning 3-2 having seen off a brave fightback from hosts Genoa. The highlight of the game was Dany Mota’s wondergoal for Monza, while former Braga man Vitinha opened his account for Genoa with what could be an important goal to help the striker settle in Italy.

The visitors took an early lead when Matteo Pessina (9’) headed in from close range, but the game was soon lit up by Dany Mota’s goal of the season contender. The forward, who has been with Monza since 2020, connected with Andrea Colpani’s cross using a sensational scissor-kick to double his team’s lead on 18 minutes.

The score remained 2-0 until half time, meaning Genoa needed to instigate a strong fightback in the second period. Therefore, coach Alberto Gilardino turned to Vitinha, who has struggled to make an impact since his January loan move from Marseille. The 23-year-old failed to live up to his hefty €32m price tag in Ligue 1, and joined Genoa low on confidence having seen his time at Marseille ended after just a year.

However, Vitinha again showed plenty of endeavour after his introduction, aggressively chasing loose balls and putting pressure on the Monza defence. Albert Guðmundsson halved the deficit (52’) before Vitinha’s big moment arrived midway through the second half. The Portugal U21 international showed great composure when afford space to attack the Monza defence, shifting the ball onto his left foot and finding the far corner with precision.

Monza recovered to snatch the points thanks to Daniel Maldini’s 79th-minute winner, but the game should serve as a confidence boost to Luso forwards Mota and Vitinha, whose sides both occupy comfortable mid-table positions in the Serie A standings.

"One of the most difficult moments of my life"

Vitinha’s goal could earn him a starting spot for Genoa’s next fixture, which sees them travel to Juventus next Sunday afternoon. Speaking after the match, he admitted that his goal’s somewhat intense celebration was a reflection of the recent difficult period in his career.

“The goal and my celebration? A special moment, because I’m probably going through one of the most difficult moments of my life,” he said. “I’m very happy for the first goal in front of my fans, I’m sorry that we didn’t win this match, but we will continue to work because we are doing really well."

By @SeanGillen9