Samp leave it late; Quagliarella brace in injury time sees off SPAL

There were raucous scenes at full-time at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris this afternoon, as Fabio Quagliarella scored two goals in additional time to turn a disappointing draw into a deserved win.

After an entertaining second half in which Sampdoria dominated SPAL and created plenty of chances, it looked as if luck wasn’t on our side and our winless run was set to extend.

As opposed to recent matches when Felipe Caicedo and Alessandro Matri scored late goals to snatch points for the visiting teams, this time it was our turn and, once again, Quagliarella provided the goods when it mattered.

Marco Giampaolo gave the nod to Jacopo Sala and Edgar Barreto over Bartosz Bereszynski and Karol Linetty respectively in the starting line-up, while Gaston Ramirez partnered captain Quagliarella in attack.

The first half was very evenly matched, but neither side managed to fashion any clearcut opportunities. The chance of the half fell to SPAL’s Felipe, who directed a powerful header towards Emiliano Viviano’s ten minutes from the interval and probably expected to see the net bulge. However, our No.2 managed to claw the ball away from danger, with replays showing the ball was inches from fully crossing the line.

Sampdoria upped things considerably after half-time and looked much more threatening right from the off. Dennis Praet shot across goal in the 54th minute, forcing Bartosz Salamon into a goal-saving deflection.

It was one-way traffic and Gianluca Caprari, Ramirez and Quagliarella all had chances to break the deadlock, but SPAL’s goal seemed to be living a charmed life.

The visitors sent out a reminder they were still in the contest in the 74th minute, when Mirco Antenucci controlled a high ball expertly and drew a fantastic save from Viviano.

When Ramirez pulled a shot wide from a gilt-edged position in the 81st minute, the fans could have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t to be our day, but in the 90th minute Federico Viviani stumbled into the Uruguayan striker in the area, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the penalty.

Quagliarella stepped up to take it, sending the ball unerringly into the bottom-right corner and lapping up the acclaim from the Blucerchiati faithful in ecstasy.

SPAL still had time to work one more chance and Viviano was not the only one breathing a sigh of relief when Sergio Floccari missed narrowly from a good position.

Samp then went straight up the other end of the pitch and substitute Dawid Kownacki sent over a perfect ball to Quagliarella, unmarked and in front of goal. The veteran striker slammed a half-volley into the back of the net to return a winning feeling to the Marassi for the first time since the visit of Pescara in November.

Sampdoria 2-0 SPAL (HT: 0-0)

Scorer: Quagliarella 90+1, 90+4.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Sala (Bereszynski 70), Silvestre, Ferrari, Strinic (Regini 45); Barreto, Torreira, Praet; Ramírez; Caprari (Kownacki 83), Quagliarella.
Subs not used: Puggioni, Tozzo, Andersen, Djuricic, Alvarez, Linetty, Verre, Capezzi, Murru.
Coach: Giampaolo.

SPAL (3-5-2): Gomis; Salamon, Vicari (Oikonomou 82), Felipe; Lazzari, Schiattarella, Viviani, Grassi (Mora 72), Mattiello; Floccari, Antenucci (Paloschi 88).
Subs not used: Marchegiani, Meret, Della Giovanna, Bellemo, Bonazzoli, Rizzo, Schiavon, Vitale, Barbosa.
Coach: Semplici.

Referee: Luca Pairetto.
Assistants: Fabrizo Posado, Rodolfo Di Vuolo.
Fourth official: Marco Serra
VAR officials: Davide Massa, Mauro Tonolini.

Yellow cards: Viviani 12, Barreto 15, Sala 65, Vicari 72, Schiattarella 77, Mora 84, Ramirez 84.

Additional time: 0+4 minutes.