Genoa produce high strike-rate

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The Independent Online

Port Vale 2 Genoa 5

While Italy's top players spent the day on a metaphorical picket line, the side lying 12th in Serie B were striking in a more vigorous fashion at Wembley. Genoa won the Anglo-Italian Cup final so comprehensively that they should be allowed to keep the trophy, which they may well do if this unloved competition does not resurface next season.

Apart from the bus operators of North Staffordshire, who ferried the best part of the 12,663 crowd to the game, the afternoon's chief beneficiary was Gennaro Ruotolo. The Genoa captain not only scored a hat-trick of excellent goals but epitomised the chasm in class between his team and Port Vale.

Genoa have endured a torrid time since their relegation last spring, and live almost permanently in Sampdoria's shadow. Vale, 21st in the First Division but still basking in the glory of their FA Cup conquest of Everton, may have felt they were there for the taking. Three Italian goals by half- time disabused them, and Genoa led 5-0 before Martin Foyle gave the scoreline a modicum of respectability.

John Rudge, Vale's manager, prides himself on the passing game to which his side adhere. But Genoa, deploying classic counter-attacking tactics, were content to let them dominate possession, wait for the inevitable misplaced pass and then break out in swarms and at speed.

Ruotolo created the illusion of being everywhere at once. He it was who punctured the optimism generated by Vale's bright start with an angled drive from 18 yards that sailed over Paul Musselwhite in the 13th minute.

A corner crassly conceded gave Fabio Galante a straightforward header for the second. Vincenzo Montella, who has scored 19 of Genoa's 37 goals this season, killed the game with another from a bicycle kick.

Genoa seemed to be toying with Vale at times. They allowed them a glimpse of goal, such as when Luca Pastine thwarted Andy Porter with the best of several agile saves, before carving them apart in the next instant. Ruotolo's second goal was a skilful chipped shot, and his fifth an unforgiving drive after an elementary error by Ray Walker.

The Potteries contingent were by now reduced to looking on the bright side of life. Foyle's goals, the first following a rare flowing move and the second a diving header from a corner, gave them something to remember.

Unusually for this ill-starred tournament, which brought us the "Battle of Ancona" and more, the game was contested in a sporting spirit. The players swapped shorts as well as shirts before Ruotolo received the cup from Enzo Bearzot, Italy's World Cup-winning coach of '82. That made a change from trading punches, but it may not be enough to save an event short of sponsors and spectators.

Goals: Ruotolo (13) 0-1; Galante (22) 0-2; Montella (39) 0-3; Ruotolo (54) 0-4; Ruotolo (65) 0-5; Foyle (68) 1-5; Foyle (82) 2-5.

Port Vale: (4-4-2): Musselwhite; Hill, Griffiths, Aspin, Stokes (Walker, 37); McCarthy, Porter, Bogie, Guppy (Talbot, 86); L Glover (Naylor, 59), Foyle.

Genoa: (1-2-5-2): Pastine (Spagnulo, 75); Cavallo; Delli Carri, Galante; Magoni, Ruotolo, Bortolazzi, Onorati (Torrente, h-t), Nicola (Van't Schip, 50); Montella, Nappi.

Referee: I Koho (Finland).

Bookings: Port Vale: Hill Foyle. Genoa: Magoni, Bortolazzi.

Man of the match: Ruotolo.

Attendance: 12,663.