Lunch is served: Zapata and super-sub Alvarez sink AC Milan

Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria put in a professional and clinical performance to defeat big-spending AC Milan in today’s lunchtime kick-off at the Stagio Luigi Ferraris.

The Blucerchiati coach opted to bring in Gian Marco Ferrari in place of Vasco Regini in the heart of defence, while Gaston Ramirez operated in the hole behind a front two of Duvan Zapata and Fabio Quagliarella.

Samp started immediately on the front foot and in the second minute, Ivan Strinic whipped in a cross from the left that Franck Kessie appeared to handle. Paolo Valeri initially gave a penalty but after consulting the VAR downgraded his decision to just a corner.

AC Milan were clearly second best and struggled to deal with Doria’s energy and competitiveness. Zapata in particular looked in fine form and came close on two occasions with headed efforts, the first saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma and the second going narrowly wide.

Somehow, despite Samp’s dominance, the score remained 0-0 at half-time but the hosts picked up where they left off in the second half, forcing the Rossoneri in the lion’s share of defending. Strinic and Ramirez combined well in the 64th minute to work an opening for Dennis Praet, but the Belgian’s shot from the edge of the area was weak and easily gathered by Donnarumma.

Four minutes later, Lucas Torreira pulled out a sublime defensive recovering tackle that was worth a goal in itself, hooking the ball away from Kessie’s stride in the six-yard box.

In the 72nd minute, the Blucerchiati finally broke the deadlock and got the goal their performance deserved. Bartosz Bereszynski floated a ball into the box, where Cristian Zapata’s poor clearance fell perfectly into his cousin’s path. Duvan took one touch to control before smashing it high into the net for the lead.

Vincenzo Montella tried to provoke a reaction among his players with three quick-fire attacking changes but to no avail: Sampdoria were comfortably defending their lead. Indeed, it was his Blucerchiati counterpart who showed the Midas touch from the sidelines. Ricky Alvarez was sent on for a run-out at the end of the game and his first touch saw him break away from the Rossoneri backline with just the keeper to beat. The Argentine took one more touch to settle himself before arrowing a shot across the goal into the bottom-left corner.

The cherry on top of a perfect lunch.

Sampdoria 2-0 AC Milan (HT: 0-0)
Scorers: Zapata 72 and Alvarez 90+2

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Puggioni; Bereszynski, Silvestre, Ferrari, Strinic; Barreto, Torreira (Capezzi 90+3), Praet (Alvarez 90) ; Ramirez (84 Verre); Quagliarella, Caprari.
Subs not used: Tozzo, Andersen, Sala, Caprari, Djuricic, Linetty, Regini, Murru, Kownacki.
Coach: Marco Giampaolo.

AC Milan (3-5-1-1): G. Donnarumma; C. Zapata, Bonucci, Romagnoli; Abate (Borini 82), Bonaventura, Kessie, Biglia, Bonaventura (Calhanoglu 78), R. Rodríguez; Suso (Cutrone 78); Kalinic.
Subs not used: Storari, A. Donnarumma, Mauri, A. Silva, Musacchio, Paletta, Locatelli.
Coach: Vincenzo Montella.

Referee: Paolo Valeri.
Assistant referees: Alessandra Giallatini and Giulio Dobosz.
Fourth official: Riccardo Pinzani.
VAR: Daniele Doveri.
VAR Assistant: Daniele Minelli.

Yellow cards: Donnarumma 72, Bonucci 82.

Additional time: 2+4 minutes.