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Samp leave the San Paolo beaten but with pride intact


Samp leave the San Paolo beaten but with pride intact

A valiant Samp display at the Stadio San Paolo ultimately equated to zero points for Marco Giampaolo’s side as Napoli came from behind to claim the spoils.

The Blucerchiati came racing out of the blocks and twice took the lead in the opening period – Gaston Ramirez’s stunning free kick and Fabio Quagliarella’s penalty – but the hosts levelled the scores on both occasions before completing the turnaround before the break.

Marco Giampaolo kept faith with the side that lost to Sassuolo six days ago, the only difference being Gianluca Caprari for Duvan Zapata, who was carrying a knock.

Caprari played his part in the opening goal, which came just one minute and 47 seconds after kick-off. The Italian won a free kick 35 yards out and up stepped Ramirez. It wasn’t the sort of distance you’d normally shoot from but Gaston thought differently and promptly drove the ball straight into the top corner.

Napoli fought back and Jose Callejon saw a smart volley turned behind by Emiliano Viviano before Dries Mertens flashed another effort just wide.

The hosts levelled the scores on the quarter-hour mark, however. The referee missed a foul by Mertens on Edgar Barreto and the Belgian sent in a cross for Callejon. Viviano saved the Spaniard’s effort but Allan pounced on the rebound to make it 1-1.

Lorenzo Insigne forced a save out of Viviano in the 25th minute before Samp went on the attack again. Ramirez weaved his way into the box and was brought down by Elseid Hysaj, earning a penalty.

Quagliarella made no mistake from 12 yards and thus took his tally for the campaign into double figures.

The captain almost made it 3-1 minutes later but his long-range effort skidded wide of the post.

Sadly Napoli did then score to level things up once again. Mertens set up Insigne and the Italy man was afforded time and space to pick his spot.

Six minutes before the break Napoli completed the turnaround as Samp allowed the Azzurri to break through the backline again, with Marek Hamsik finishing from close range.

Before the interval there was still time for Quagliarella to put the ball in the back of the net but it was chalked off for offside.

After a high-octane first half the tempo dropped after the restart and chances were few and far between.

Quagliarella tried his luck from distance before making way for Dawid Kownacki and the Doria skipper was applauded off the field by his former fans.

The Pole’s first contribution was to reduce Napoli to 10 men as Mario Rui collected his second booking of the game after felling the substitute.

With a quarter of an hour left and a man advantage Samp went searching for an equaliser, yet it was Viviano who was called into action to thwart Mertens’ free kick.

Giampaolo threw on Duvan Zapata for Ivan Strinic as the minutes ticked away but again it was Napoli who went closest to scoring in stoppage time as Mertens was denied by Viviano and the crossbar.

In the dying seconds, Kownacki was clean through on goal when the whistle was blown for a foul on Kalidou Koulibaly.

There went Samp’s last hope of taking something for the game. The Blucerchiati left Naples empty-handed but can be proud of pushing the league leaders all the way – they are the first team to score more than one goal at the San Paolo this season.

The points will have to wait for another day but the performance is a reason to be cheerful going into Christmas.

Napoli 3-2 Sampdoria (HT 3-2)
Scorers: Ramirez 2, Allan 16, Quagliarella 27 (pen), Insigne 33, Hamsik 39.

Napoli (4-3-3): Reina; Hysaj, Albiol, Koulibaly, Mario Rui; Allan, Jorginho (Diawara 56), Hamsik (Zielinski 70); Callejon, Mertens, Insigne (Maggio 79).
Subs not used: Rafael, Sepe, Giaccherini, Leandrinho, Maksimovic, Chiriches, Rog, Ounas.
Coach: Sarri.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Bereszynski, Silvestre, Ferrari, Strinic (Zapata 83); Barreto (Verre 71), Torreira, Praet; Ramirez; Caprari, Quagliarella (Kownacki 75).
Subs not used: Puggioni, Tozzo, Andersen, Sala, Djuricic, Regini, Verre, Capezzi, Murru.
Coach: Giampaolo.

Referee: Massa (Imperia).
Assistants: Valeriani (Ravenna), Liberti (Pisa).
Fourth official: Di Paolo (Avezzano).
VAR: Mariani (Aprilia).
VAR assistant: Longo (Paola).

Booked: Strinic 18, Hysaj 26, Mario Rui 52, Viviano 57, Torreira 62, Verre 72, Mertens 76, Ramirez 82.
Sent off: Mario Rui 77 (second yellow).
Added time: 1+3 minutes.

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