Sampdoria Add to Fiorentina Serie A Woes in Close Finish

With Franck Ribery pulling strings, Fiorentina looked lively in their last week’s defeat to Inter and they needed to prove their mettle against Sampdoria, who had lost to newly-promoted Benevento in Round 2.

It was Samp who showed efficiency in front of the goal to take home the three points on offer. Fabio Quagliarella opened the scoring late in the first half. Dusan Vlahovic equalized after the restart, but Valerio Verre denied La Viola any shot at redemption with his 83rd-minute effort.

There were plenty of drama and questions raised in the Artemio Franchi showdown. VAR was again in the midst of things and could have jolted expectations. But it all came to its natural conclusion in a result that would be acceptable to both sides.

Fiorentina started the first-half brightly, carving chances through Cristiano Biraghi, Federico Chiesa, Giacomo Bonaventura, and Biraghi again. It was one-way traffic as La Viola boasted 82% possession in some periods.

Sampdoria did not make a single decent attempt and were pegged back to their own half but Fiorentina failed to make anything out of their dominance. They piled on bodies but to no effect. Samp were denied the ball but were compact in defense.

The tide began to shift as Claudio Ranieri’s men got comfortable with the ball. The first counter-attacks were cut-off before they developed into anything tangible. Gaston Ramirez was too eager to relieve the pressure and was often caught offside.

The ever-reliable Fabio Quagliarella rolled back the years and showed why his experience is rated highly at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris. Despite his waning speed, La Viola’s three-man defense was having a tough time dealing with his pressure.

Want to know how to be 37 years old and still perform at the highest level? Ask Fabio Quagliarella!

The best chance from the opening exchanges fell to his boots. Bartlomiej Dragowski safely collected Antonio Candreva’s cross. The Polish goalkeeper then committed an error that could have gotten Quagliarella on the scoreboard. The experienced forward cheekily stole the ball from Dragowski and deposited it into the back of the net. He pleased his innocence at the referee’s whistle, but it went on unheard as Fiorentina were awarded a free-kick.

That rattled the hosts, who became conservative in their approach and allowed the lbue-circled sides to get a foothold in the Serie A affair. The match opened up as both sides attacked each other at regular intervals. The visitors created the more dangerous attacks while Giuseppe Iachini’s men showed signs of why they breached Inter’s defense thrice in mid-week.

Sampdoria faithful’s prayers were heard as Federico Ceccherini needlessly brought down Quagliarella. Referee Piero Giacomelli had no choice but to point to the spot. The 37-year-old talisman obliged from 12-yards out to give his side the lead going into the break.

Iachini must have wondered how to concern their dominance into something tangible. They attacked in numbers but could not get past the rival defense. Moreover, the chances they created only padded up their statistics as they were calmly dealt with at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

There were clear instructions to move the play across the wings as the Viola attacked in full furor. Claudio Ranieri’s low block was showing chinks in its armor. However, the best chance again fell to Quagliarella, whose volleyed attempt went high over the bar. Antonio Candreva too came close, but his 55th-minute effort only rattled the woodwork.

It was a repeat of the first half but with the roles reversed. La Viola rode their luck, and soon the quality of chances fell in favor of Fiorentina. Giacomo Bonaventura became relevant again while Dusan Vlahovic and Martin Caceres rued their luck for not equalizing. The Serbian would get a chance again and would not disappoint this time.

After a Chiesa ball went in for a goal kick, the hosts secured the ball again from the resulting action. Nikola Milenkovic took his time from the flanks, and his accurate delivery found Dusan Vlahovic unmarked inside the box. The towering attacker buried the ball inside the right side for the equalizer.

It seemed like the best chance of points for Sampdoria was hoping for a draw as Fiorentina had imposed their authority in the second period. However, there was life in Claudio Ranieri’s men, and they were not letting the fixture slip through their grip.

Ceccherini was in the thick of things again as his clearance of a Mehdi Leris’ cross gave Samp a corner. The French midfielder’s resulting effort found Lorenzo Tonelli, whose header fell graciously in Morten Thorsby’s feet. The Norwegian would not miss the opportunity to return Sampdoria’s lead. However, a VAR check ruled it off as there was a possible handball in the buildup.

It would not be the case in Sampdoria’s next attempt. There were no wrongdoings this time as an Emil Audero pass found its way to Valerio Verre. The midfielder got on to the edge of the box and lobbed it over Dragowski. The goal stood, and it was 1-2 in favor of the visitors.

With minutes remaining in regulation time, the Blucerchiati slowed the tempo. Fiorentina could not conjure anything of note. Federico Chiesa tried, but his efforts were in vain. The youth academy graduate should have made the most of his injury-time opportunity but hit the post in the fifth minute of added time. It was a second successive defeat for La Viola.

Federico Chiesa couldn’t believe it! His last-minute effort had just hit the post, preventing Fiorentina from snatching at least one point out of their match with Sampdoria

While their opening day victory was dour to say the least, they have been entertaining in their losses. On the other hand, it was a much-needed victory for Ranieri and Sampdoria. They were comprehensively defeated by Juventus and were undone by Benevento at home.

Both sides return to the drawing board as they prepare for their coming fixtures after the international break. Sampdoria will welcome the challenge of Lazio at the Marassi, while Iachini will lead his Fiorentina side on the road against Spezia.


October 2, 2020 – Serie A 2020-2021 Round 3

SCORERS: 43′ Quagliarella (S, pen.), 72′ Vlahovic (F), 83′ Verre (S)

FIORENTINA (3-5-2): Dragowski; Ceccherini, Caceres, Milenkovic; Chiesa, Amrabat (86′ Saponara), Bonaventura, Castrovilli (82′ Duncan), Biraghi; Kouamé (58′ Cutrone) Vlahovic (Terracciano, Brancolini, Lirola, Venuti, Montiel, Dutu, Dalle Mura, Igor) Coach: Iachini
SAMPDORIA (4-4-2): Audero; Bereszynski, Yoshida, Tonelli, Augello (85′ Regini); Candreva (69′ Askildsen), Thorsby, Ekdal (85′ Palumbo), Damsgaard (69′ Verre); Ramirez (69′ Léris), Quagliarella (Ravaglia, Avogadri, Rocha, Bonazzoli, La Gumina, Gabbiadini, Ferrari) Coach: Ranieri

REFEREE: Mr. Giacomelli from Trieste
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Ekdal, Thorsby, Tonelli (S)