Sampdoria slip to narrow Manchester United defeat in Dublin

Marco Giampaolo’s Sampdoria side were edged out 2-1 by Manchester United at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Wednesday night. The Blucerchiati were impressive in defeat, however, doing Giampaolo proud on his 50th birthday and proving they could match the reigning Europa League champions.

Samp got off to a bad start and found themselves 1-0 down inside ten minutes, with Matteo Darmian whipping in a cross from the left for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to ghost in ahead of Daniel Pavlovic and apply the finish.

Fabio Quagliarella almost restored parity seconds later with a sumptuous lob that cleared David De Gea but sailed straight over the bar, while United had chances to extend their lead through Mkhitaryan – denied by Christian Puggioni – and Romelu Lukaku – blocked by Vasco Regini. A Victor Lindelof deflection almost took Daniel Pavlovic into the United goal for 1-1, but Samp’s luck was out and the scores stayed at 1-0 at the break.

Jose Mourinho made four changes at the break, while Giampaolo decided to stick with the same eleven. Doria looked assured and in control as the second half progressed, and they got their reward on 63 minutes. Pavlovic sent Karol Linetty in behind, drawing a challenge from Chris Smalling. The loose ball feel to Dennis Praet, who side-footed past De Gea for 1-1. As Samp celebrated, Giampaolo began to make changes, first Pavolic and Linetty going off for Nicola Murru and Ricky Alvarez, then Bartosz Bereszynski, Filip Djuricic, Valerio Verre and Federico Bonazzoli joining the fray.

Doria would have been well worth the draw, but United had other ideas, as on 81 minutes Juan Mata fired past Puggioni to give the Premier League side a 2-1 lead. Andrea Tozzo – the young goalkeeper on for the final stages – did well to deny Herrera and Marcus Rashford at the death and keep the scoreline respectable, with the final whistle confirmed a slender – yet encouraging – defeat for Giampaolo and his team.

Manchester United 2 -1 Sampdoria (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Mkhitaryan 9, Praet 63, Mata 81.

Manchester United (3-5-1-1): De Gea (J. Pereira 76); Lindelof (Jones 76), Smalling (Bailly 77), Blind (Martial 60); Valencia, A. Pereira (Herrera HT), Matic (Carrick HT), Pogba (Fellaini HT), Darmian ( Tuanzebe 77); Mkhitaryan (Mata HT); Lukaku (Rashford 60).
Subs not used: Fosu-Mensah, McTominay.
Coach: Jose Mourinho.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Puggioni (Tozzo 86); Sala (Bereszynski 60), Silvestre, Regini, Pavlovic (Murru 66); Barreto (Djuricic 75), Torreira (Capezzi 86), Linetty (Alvarez 66); Praet (Verre 75); Quagliarella (Kownacki 85), Caprari (Bonazzoli 76).
Subs not used: Simic, Dodo, Leverbe.
Coach: Marco Giampaolo.

Referee: Doyle (IRL)
Assistants: Clarke (IRL), Broughton (IRL).
Fourth official: Hennessy (IRL).

Yellow cards: Torreira 73.

Added time: 0 + 3 mins.