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Napoli win thriller at Marassi


Napoli win thriller at Marassi

It was a roller coaster contest at the Marassi on Monday night, with a bad beginning and end to the proceedings costing Sampdoria what would have been a deserved share of the spoils.

A nightmare start for Claudio Ranieri’s troops saw the visitors race into a 2-0 lead in the opening 16 minutes. The first blow was when Arek Milik headed Gennaro Gattuso’s side in front from the first attack of the game in the third minute.

Doria did have an excellent chance to equalise when Manolo Gabbiadini pulled the ball back to a well-positioned Fabio Quagliarella in the 13th minute, but the striker’s tame effort was straight at Alex Meret.

The second goal of the game came from a Napoli corner which was headed on by Giovanni Di Lorenzo and poked home by Elif Elmas at the back post for his first goal for the club.

Claudio Ranieri’s charges were not down and out, however, and wasted little time in getting back into the contest with 26 minutes on the clock when Albin Ekdal chipped a long ball towards Fabio Quagliarella which the striker impressively volleyed goalwards from the edge of the box. Meret was only able to get a hand to the ball, which nestled in the corner as a feeling of belief started to emanate from the terraces.

Both sides had more chances as the half wore on, with the clearest falling to Gaston Ramirez, whose chipped effort clipped the post. Milik went close to adding to his tally with Audero making a fine save to keep out his header, but there would prove to be no more goals before the interval.

Ramirez seemed to have made amends for his earlier miss with an acrobatic volley into the back of the net in the 55th minute, but it was disallowed by VAR because of a handball by Gabbiadini in the build-up.

Samp were not disheartened and kept plugging away, with Ranieri bringing on Gonzalo Maroni for the Uruguayan in the 67th minute. Just a few minutes later, the boss was forced into another change after Quagliarella was fouled by Kostas Manolas in the box and a penalty was awarded with the help of VAR.

Gabbiadini stepped up to slot the ball home and level the contest in the 73rd minute from the spot.

It was a Napoli substitute who scored the crucial goal of the game, with Diego Demme in the right place at the right time to pounce on a loose ball in the box and put the Azzurri into the lead with just seven minutes left on the clock.

The Blucerchiati attempted to get back on level terms, but were missing that magic spark without the captain on the pitch. There would be more disappointment deep into stoppage time after a mix-up at the back saw Dries Mertens able to shoot into an open goal from long range to add gloss to a scoreline which arguably flatters Napoli.

The defeat sees Sampdoria remain in sixteenth place in the table, with attentions now turning to the trip to Torino on Saturday.

Sampdoria 2-4 Napoli (HT 1-2)
Scorers: Milik 3, Elmas 16, Quagliarella 26, Gabbiadini 73, Demme 83, Mertens 90+7.

Sampdoria (4-4-2): Audero; Thorsby, Tonelli, Colley, Augello; Ramirez (Maroni 68), Ekdal, Linetty, Jankto (Vieira 80); Gabbiadini, Quagliarella (Bonazzoli 75).
Subs not used: Seculin, Falcone, Chabot, Barreto, Askildsen, La Gumina, Leris, Murru, Bertolacci.
Coach: Ranieri.

Napoli (4-3-3): Meret; Hysaj, Manolas, Di Lorenzo, M. Rui; Elmas (Politano 79), Lobotka (Demme 61), Zielinski; Callejon (Mertens 72), Milik, Insigne.
Subs not used: Ospina, Karnezis, Allan, Llorente, Lozano, Luperto, Maksimovic, Koulibaly.
Coach: Gattuso.

Referee: La Penna (Roma 1).
Assistants: Passeri (Gubbio) and Longo (Paola).
Fourth official: Sacchi (Macerata).
VAR: Mazzoleni (Bergamo).
Assistant VAR: Paganessi (Bergamo).

Booked: Elmas and Jankto 43, Ekdal 47, Ramirez 58, Linetty 87, Demme 90+3, Politano 90+4.
Added time: 0+7 minutes.
Pitch: Good condition.

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