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The away hoodoo strikes again: toothless Samp downed by a questionable penalty


The away hoodoo strikes again: toothless Samp downed by a questionable penalty

Sampdoria’s struggles in front of goal continued this evening as Marco Giampaolo’s men slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Atalanta at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia.

The hosts’ goal came through a second-half penalty converted by Alejandro Gomez, but the debate over whether it should have been awarded in the first place will rage on. Replays seemed to suggest Andrea Petagna struck Pedro Pereira with his follow-through, rather than the other way round.

A new-look Doria deserve credit for largely shackling an Atalanta side that has been knocking loudly on the door of Europa League places recently. In attack, much of Samp’s build-up play was neat and tidy, especially in the first half, but the players seemed to lack the self-confidence and sang froid to finish off their moves.

Only Fabio Quagliarella and Patrik Schick came close to scoring for the Blucerchiati in the first 45: the former with a great volley on the turn struck narrowly over and the latter spooning a decent chance high and wide, albeit from a tight angle.

Atalanta began the second half in the ascendancy and Christian Puggioni had to be in fine form to palm away a fierce volley from Gomez in the 53rd minute. One minute later, referee Nicola Rizzoli found himself at the centre of controversy after adjudging Pereira to have fouled Petagna in the area and pointing to the spot. Unfortunately, Puggioni couldn’t repeat his heroics from earlier and Sampdoria were trailing.

Once in the lead, Gianpiero Gasperini’s side sat deep and looked to protect the result. Despite having four strikers on the pitch at the end, the Blucerchiati struggled to work a good opening. Schick came closest when he was played into a one-on-one after some nice interplay with substitute Luis Muriel in the 71st minute, but a defender managed to get back in time and make the tackle.

It’s a familiar story as Sampdoria lose again on the road in a contest where they perhaps deserved better. Ultimately, it matters little and Marco Giampaolo’s players need to find a way to get out of this rut.

Atalanta 1-0 Sampdoria (HT: 0-0)

Scorer: Gomez (p) 55.

Atalanta (3-4-1-2): Berisha; Masiello, Caldara, Bastoni; Conti (Zukanovic 60), Melegoni (Grassi 45), Freuler, Spinazzola; Kurtic, A. Gomez (Toloi 87); Petagna.
Subs not used: Mazzini, Gollini, D’Alessandro, Migliaccio, Pesic, Suagher, Paloschi, Raimondi.
Coach: Tullio Gritti.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Puggioni; Pereira, Silvestre, Skriniar, Pavlovic; Linetty (Muriel 57), Torreira, Praet (Djuricic 51); Fernandes (Budimir 82); Quagliarella, Schick.
Subs not used: Krapikas, Tozzo, Barreto, Palombo, Regini, Cigarini, Bereszynski.
Coach: Marco Giampaolo.

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli.
Assistants: Riccardo Di Fiore and Valerio Pegorin.
Fourth official: Alessio Tolfo.
Additional assistants: Juan Luca Sacchi and Marco Serra.

Yellow cards: Pereira 29, Kurtic 73, Djuricic 80 and Skriniar 88.

Added time: 1+4 minutes.

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