Serie A Club of the Week – Sampdoria


Sampdoria defeated the cross-town rivals in dominating fashion, deservedly earning the weekly shout-out. They approached the Derby seeking to atone after being upended by Torino and Roma in the previous two round and losing momentum in the Europa League race.

Marco Giampaolo marshaled his men with his usual diamond formation, picking Jacopo Sala over Bartosz Bereszynski at right back and preferring Gaston Ramirez to Riccardo Saponara in the hole. The returning Albin Ekdal anchored the midfield.

After two chances for both clubs, a wide Christian Kouame shot and a Karol Linetty foray denied by a great save by Ionut Radu, the Blucerchiati broke through at the 3rd minutes: Fabio Quagliarella got the ball the right-hand side of the box following a corner kick and his square ball met the sliding Gregoire Defrel one meter away from the goal.

Ramirez almost made it two with a nasty free kick, but Radu saved again, then Dennis Praet hit the side netting on a volley on a cross by Nicola Murru, but he was not in great position to aim at the goal. Quagliarella almost scored in a fortuitous way at the end of the first half, when Praet found him with a slide rule pass and the ball bounced towards the goal on Radu’s frantic attempt to stop him coming out of the goal, but Biraschi cleared it just before it crossed the line.

The veteran striker did get his goal at the 53rd minute from the penalty spot, after Biraschi stopped the cutting Defrel with a handball and was red carded because it was deemed a clear chance.

The Griffon had a pair of opportunities to slice the lead, first with a Domenico Criscito cross-shot that did not find a successful deflection despite passing through few teammates and opponents, then with Goran Pandev, who did not coordinate few feets away from the goal on a corner kick. In the final chance of the game, Radu rejected a surefire Quagliarella attempt with a stunning save.

The Blucerchiati remain in 9th position but gained two points on Atalanta and Torino and three on Lazio. The sixth spot is five points away.

A pretty rich loot in the fantasy game, as Emil Audero grabbed seven points for his clean sheet, followed by both attackers Defrel and Quagliarella with six, while the whole back-line snatched five points for their diligent work and the midfielders, all but Linetty who was booked, pitched in with two bonus points.

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