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VAR claims the headlines as Samp edged out by Juve

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VAR claims the headlines as Samp edged out by Juve

Sampdoria narrowly lost 2-1 to Juventus at the Allianz Stadium today after VAR ruled out Riccardo Saponara’s spectacular equaliser deep into additional time.

Although the ending was a bitter blow to take, the Blucerchiati can take credit from their organised, battling performance and the way they took the runaway league leaders right down to the wire.

When Cristiano Ronaldo cut inside and found the bottom corner, it appeared that Samp were in for a long hard afternoon. Juve were on top and cruising in the first half an hour, until a seemingly innocuous incident offered Marco Giampaolo’s men a lifeline.

It looked as if Emre Can had simply made a hash of his clearing header, nodding Gaston Ramirez’s corner behind him into the goalmouth. However, the VAR officials spotted something and indicated that referee Paolo Valeri should take a second look. Sure enough, the touch had come off the German’s upper arm, so Valeri pointed to the spot. Fabio Quagliarella stepped up to drill the ball beyond Mattia Perin and extend his remarkable scoring run to nine consecutive games, the first player since David Trezeguet in 2005 to accomplish such a feat.

The equaliser against the run of play was a shot in the arm and Doria came surging back into the contest, knocking the ball about with pace and purpose. Even so, the hosts constantly posed a danger and Audero had to be wary of efforts from Dybala, saved, and Chiellini, watched safely wide.

The Bianconeri started the second half with more intensity and came close with Blaise Matuidi drawing a save from Emil Audero and Cristiano Ronaldo hitting the crossbar.

When their goal eventually came in the 65th minute, again there was a question mark and VAR was needed to intervene for the second time to confirm if Alex Ferrari had handled the ball in his area. Upon review, Valeri adjudged there to have been infringement and pointed to the spot. In a carbon copy of Quagliarella’s penalty in the first half, Cristiano Ronaldo scored his and Juventus’ second of the afternoon.

Faced with this situation on Juve’s home turf, many teams have crumbled and accepted their fate, but the Blucerchiati kept plugging away. It looked like their efforts were rewarded deep in injury time when Perin shanked a clearance into substitute Gregoire Defrel’s path. The Frenchman touched it on for fellow sub Saponara, who struck a beautiful curling effort into the top corner, only for the celebrations to be paused as, again, the decision went upstairs. Replays showed Gregoire had indeed been marginally in an offside position when he played the ball, so unfortunately the goal could not stand.

Sampdoria may have ended the year empty-handed, but the performance shows how far this team have progressed. There’s much to look forward to in 2019.

Juventus 2-1 Sampdoria (HT: 1-1)

Scorers: Ronaldo 2, 65 (p), Quagliarella 33 (p)

Juventus (4-3-1-2): Perin; De Sciglio, Rugani, Chiellini, Alex Sandro; Can, Pjanic, Matuidi (Douglas Costa, 82); Dybala, Mandzukic (Bernardeschi, 69), Ronaldo.
Subs not used: Szczesny, Pinsoglio, Bonucci, Benatia, Spinazzola, Khedira, Kean.
Coach: Allegri.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Audero; Sala, Ferrari, Colley, Murru; Praet, Ekdal (Jankto, 82), Linetty; Ramirez (Saponara, 72); Caprari (Defrel, 67), Quagliarella.
Subs not used: Rafael, Belec, Tonelli, Leverbe, Rolando, Regini, Junior, Vieira, Kownacki.
Coach: Giampaolo.

Referee: Valeri.
Assistants: Valeriani, Vivenzi.
Fourth Official: Marinelli.
VAR: Maresca, Del Giovane.

Yellow cards: Matuidi 36, Ferrari 37, Rugani 71, Saponara 90+3.

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