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Samp taste victory once again; Quagliarella’s penalty downs Rossoblu


Samp taste victory once again; Quagliarella’s penalty downs Rossoblu

Sampdoria got back to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Cagliari at the Marassi in today’s lunchtime kick-off, ending a poor February on a positive note.

The scoreline suggests a must closer contest that it actually was: although the Sardinian outfit defended stoutly, it was clear from the start that the Blucerchiati were clearly superior from a technical point of view.

The first couple of half chances actually went Cagliari’s way. After eight minutes, Emil Audero was forced off his line to claim at Leonardo Pavoletti’s feet and then three minutes later Luca Cigarini blazed a shot comfortably over from 25 yards.

The home side woke up in the 16th minute, when Albin Ekdal popped up with a delightful cross deep into Cagliari’s box. Jakub Jankto, caught somewhat unawares, found himself on the end of it but couldn’t sort his feet out and the connection was poor.

The chances began to flow for Marco Giampaolo’s men and Alessio Cragno was called into action repeatedly. His best save from the first half was palming away Fabio Quagliarella’s shot from inside a crowded area in the 29th minute.

On the rare occasions that Cagliari ventured into Samp’s half, Audero showed he’s sharp and top of his game, rushing off his line and narrowing the angle on Pavoletti in the 33rd minute.

Riccardo Saponara could have broken the deadlock moments before the half-time whistle when he struck a volley from a decent position inside the box. Unfortunately, the playmaker caught it on the wrong side of his foot and it flashed past the face of the goal.

Cagliari were working hard in defence, trying admirably to shut down Sampdoria’s passing lanes at source, and inevitably this was a drain on their energy levels. The visitors came out for the second half much deeper and it looked like a matter of time before Doria would find the net.

Nevertheless, the Blucerchiati had Cragno in inspired form to contend with. His save against Quagliarella in the 63rd minute was straight out of the top drawer: when our No.27 poked Dennis Praet’s shot goalwards from about three yards, the whole stadium was expecting to see the net bulge, but for the Cagliari’s keeper outstretched palm clawing the ball back into play.

A minute later, Samp were gifted a glorious chance to break the deadlock when Luca Pellegrini grabbed a handful of substitute Manolo Gabbiadini’s shirt and hauled him to the ground. The referee, after consulting with the VAR, pointed to the spot and it fell to our captain Quagliarella to take responsibility. Knowing that Cragno has a reputation for penalty saves, and given his performance so far, the experience striker opted for power above all, rattling an unstoppable drive into the corner of the net.

Roberto Maran immediately tried to change things with a double substitution, sending on Darijo Srna and Paolo Farago for Simone Padoin and Alessandra Deiola, but the hosts had firm control of the match.

The remaining 20 minutes passed by without much incident, as the Rossoblu’s spirit was broken and the Blucerchiati comfortably saw out the contest until full-time.

After a three-game losing streak, Sampdoria have turned their fortunes around and put themselves back in the frame for a Europa League spot at the end of the season.

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

Scorers: Quagliarella (p) 67.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Audero; Sala, Andersen, Colley, Murru (Bereszynski, 80); Praet, Ekdal, Jankto; Saponara (Gabbiadini, 52); Defrel (Vieira, 89), Quagliarella.
Subs not used: Rafael, Belec, Bahlouli, Sau, Tavares, Ferrari.
Coach: Giampaolo.

Cagliari (4-3-1-2): Cragno; Padoin (Faragò, 73), Pisacane, Ceppitelli, L. Pellegrini; Deiola (Srna, 73), Cigarini, Ionita; Barella; Pavoletti, Doratiotto (Verde, 79).
Subs not used: A. Rafael, Aresti, Bradaric, Oliva, Leverbe, Romagna.
Coach: Maran.

Referee: Massimi.
Assistants: Valeriani, Villa.
Fourth official: Doveri.
VAR: Mazzoleni.
VAR assistant: Longo.

Yellow cards: Ekdal 18, Deiola 33, Pellegrini 64.

Additional time: 2+5 minutes.

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