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Long break due to rain favours Roma, last-minute Totti penalty sinks Blucerchiati


Long break due to rain favours Roma, last-minute Totti penalty sinks Blucerchiati

The weather proved to be the turning point at the Stadio Olimpico this afternoon, as Roma emerged from an hour-long break at half time to overturn Samp’s hard-fought lead from the first half.

Sampdoria looked irresistible in the opening 45: lively, full of ideas and a constant threat on goal through the attacking pair of Luis Muriel and Fabio Quagliarella.

Despite the Blucerchiati’s positive start, it was the home side that took the lead after eight minutes when Mohamed Salah stole in behind Daniel Pavlovic to nod a cross past Emiliano Viviano. Roma came close to doubling their advantage minutes later, but Stephan El Shaarawy couldn’t keep his shot from inside the six-yard box below the bar.

Nevertheless, Samp remained calm and soon found themselves back in the contest. In the 18th minute, Vasco Regini lifted a ball behind the Giallorossi defence and Muriel watched it all the way onto his right boot, smashing a sweet volley past Wojciech Szczesny and inside the far post. The Colombian loves scoring against Roma and he could have had another minutes later, forcing the Polish keeper into a fine, outstretched save.

The rain started to heave down midway through the half, leaving the pitch resembling something like a swimming pool at the interval. After an hour’s wait, the surface was deemed playable again and the second half got under way.

The long break clearly allowed Luciano Spalletti’s men to regroup because they came out to resume play a different animal. Viviano was forced into a string of scarcely believable saves as the Giallorossi piled on attack after attack, with half-time substitute Francesco Totti at the heart of his team’s attacking threat.

The long-serving Roma captain gave the assist for fellow substitute Edin Dzeko to finally get one past Samp’s No.2 in the 61st minute and then the Blucerchiati resistance finally caved when Milan Skriniar was adjudged to have fouled the Bosnian in the last moments of additional time. The decision was highly debatable from the replays, but Totti made sure of the penalty itself, sending Viviano the wrong way and robbing Sampdoria of a richly deserved point.

Marco Giampaolo will naturally be disappointed with the scoreline, but the sparkling performance of his players, especially in the first half, gives great cause for hope for the rest of this season.

Roma 3-2 Sampdoria (HT: 1-2)

Scorers: Salah 8, Muriel 18, Quagliarella 41, Dzeko 61, Totti 90+3.

Roma (4-3-3): Szczesny; Florenzi, Manolas, J. Jesus, B. Peres; Nainggolan (Iturbe 80), De Rossi, Strootman; Salah, Perotti (Totti 45), El Shaarawy (Dzeko 45).
Subs not used: Alisson, Lobont, Paredes, Seck, Fazio, Gerson, Emerson, Marchizza.
Coach: Luciano Spalletti.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Sala, Silvestre, Regini, Pavlovic (Dodo 45, Skriniar 82); Barreto, Torreira, Linetty; Alvarez; Quagliarella, Muriel (Budimir 62).
Subs not used: Puggioni, Krapikas, Eramo, Fernandes, Pereira, Schick, Palombo, Praet, Cigarini.
Coach: Marco Giampaolo.

Referee: Piero Giacomelli.
Assistant referees: Marco Barbirati and Mauro Vivenzi.
Fourth official: Claudio La Rocca.
Additional assistants: Gianluca Rocchi and Luca Pairetto.

Yellow cards: Sala 62, De Rossi 70, Juan Jesus 78.
Red card: Alvarez for dissent 90+2.
Additional time: 2+3 minutes.

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