A cynical Sampdoria made the best out of their few attempts to score, as they topped 2-0 city rivals Genoa in the Derby della Lanterna. Goals by Gaston Ramirez and Fabio Quagliarella consolidated the Blucerchiati’s 6th place in Serie A league table and added further pressure on Genoan coach Ivan Juric’s precarious situation.
If truth be told, the Grifoni did not deserve such a hard punishment, as coach Juric tried whatever in his power to rebalance a match where their opponents capitalized on a very few chances. Genoa was in command of the operations for at least the full first half, with an indomitable Adel Taarabt under the spotlight. The count of shooting attempts ended in favor of the red and blue side of the city, but calcio is a cruel game – those who score, win.
Marco Giampaolo can rejoice at another flawless performance by his side: Matias Silvestre led the defense with confidence, whereas Ivan Strinic dominated the left side of the pitch. Sriker Fabio Quagliarella has found a valuable partner in Colombian Duvan Zapata, who served two assist tonight for both Doria goals. Giampaolo’s only doubt was between Gianluca Caprari and Gaston Ramirez: His choice favored the offensive midfielder from Uruguay – and it proved to be the right one.
The 115th Derby della Lanterna (Derby of the Lighthouse – a lighthouse being the symbol of the port city of Genoa) was played at Luigi Ferraris Stadium, the most “British” among Italian old school football grounds – with no separation between the stands and the pitch. On top of being a traditionally contested city confrontation, the derby of Genoa is a curious encounter between the oldest Italian football club – Genoa was founded in 1893 – and one of the youngest among the top professional teams from the Belpaese: Sampdoria was born “only” in 1946 from the merging of former city clubs Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria.
The match was a fun one to watch, with both teams keeping the pace high, but it took 23 minutes to see the first real attempt to shot – and it was a decisive one. Taarabt led the charge for Genoa with a formidable run at 14’, but wasted everything with a poor conclusion. Just a few minutes later, he delivered a delicious lob pass for Gianluca Lapadula in the box: the former Milan forward tried as spectacular overhead kick, but sent the ball out of target.
Sampdoria’s lead came basically out of nowhere, as a long-range return by goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano propitiated a flank play by Duvan Zapata. Gaston Ramirez caught the ball, resisted a charge by Ervin Zukanovic, and softly put it past Genoa’s goalie Mattia Perin.
The Rossoblu answered with a cross from the left side by Diego Laxalt, which Aleandro Rosi converted into a shot to hit Viviano’s crossbar. Genoa was up for acrobatic plays tonight, as a few minutes later defender Armando Izzo also tried to move the score with an overhead kick – with no more success than Lapadula.
Sampdoria saved themselves again before half time on two occasions, when Gian Marco Ferrari first, and then Matias Silvestre stopped with experience a tireless Taarabt. When referee Massimiliano Irrati sent the teams for a break, it was clear that a tie would have been a fairer outcome.
But despite Genoa continuing to attack after the break, Samp missed a chance to make it two – once again coming out of nowhere – as defender Luca Rossettini attempted a risky pass for Perin: Quagliarella intercepted it, but missed the target after dribbling the Genoan goalkeeper.
Two minutes later, it was time for the Grifoni to give the creeps to Doria supporters, as Luca Rigoni produced a powerful header from a cross by Miguel Veloso, with the ball flying over the cross bar (but not much above it…) Coach Juric saw the chance to make it even – or maybe had no choice but believing it, as much of his tenure as Genoa coach was at stake tonight – and sent in forward Goran Pandev to support Lapadula on the attacking line.
Pressure from the Rossoblu risked playing a bad trick on Samp’s keeper Viviano, who failed to control a back pass, and gave away a corner kick to his opponents – from which nothing concrete happened, much to Viviano and the Doria fans relief. But that was just two minutes before Fabio Quagliarella put an end to the derby finalizing a suggestion by Duvan Zapata: A pass by Lucas Torreira was deflected by Zukanovic only to end on the feet of the Colombian into Genoa’s box. Zapata lured Mattia Perin to exit on the right side, then sent the ball back in the middle for Quagliarella to put it in an unguarded goal for his 7th seasonal scoring.
The final, furious reaction from Genoa produced a violent shot by Miguel Veloso, which Viviano parried back to maintain his sheet clean. It ended with Juric putting in another striker, 16-year-old Pietro Pellegri, for winger Darko Lazovic – who was sent in himself only 30 minutes earlier…
In a post-match interview, Ivan Juric mentioned that he is aware of being seriously at risk of being sacked, but maintained that Genoa will manage to remain in Serie A anyway. Indeed, the team seen tonight at Luigi Ferraris stadium is surely worth more than the meager six points they conquered so far.
SCORERS: 24’ Ramirez; 84’ Quagliarella
GENOA (3-4-2-1): Perin; Izzo, Rossettini, Zukanovic; Rosi (53′ Lazovic, 86’ Pellegri), Veloso, Omeonga, Laxalt; Rigoni (67′ Pandev), Taraabt; Lapadula. (Lamanna, Biraschi, Gentiletti, Migliore, Brlek, Bertolacci, Lazovic, Ricci, Palladino, Galabinov). Coach: Juric
SAMPDORIA (4-3-1-2): Viviano; Bereszynski, Silvestre, Ferrari, Strinic; Linetty, Torreira, Praet (77′ Alvarez); Ramirez (60’ Barreto); Quagliarella, Zapata (87′ Caprari). (Puggioni, Tozzo, Andersen, Sala, Barreto, Regini, Verre, Capezzi, Murru, Kownacki). Coach: Giampaolo
REFEREE: Mr. Irrati from Pistoia
NOTES: Yellow cards: Bereszynski, Ferrari (S), Lapadula, Veloso, Rossettini, Taarabt (G).
(Feature Photo Credit: LaPresse / Tano Pecoraro)