Sampdoria is back on the winners’ list! After losing its last seven matches, ‘i doriani’ beat Genoa 3-1 in the Derby della Lanterna. Ciro Ferrara has survived for now and Genoa coach Luigi Del Neri has lost all his matches as ‘grifone’ coach. The win could either be a catalyst for a consistent run in form or a brief respite from the recent form crisis. Either way, this is a derby win to enjoy more than the others.
Ferrara’s formation was a 4-5-1 of sorts, with all five midfielders being used to playing in the centre of midfield, not on the wings. Gianni Munari and Andrea Poli played in the wide positions but they didn’t play like classical wingers. Munari was essentially an ‘ala tornante’ and Poli was an attacking midfielder who happened to play on the left side. Both played well in their respective roles. Munari was valuable defensively and offensively. Throughout the game, Poli’s prompting was fine. He held up the ball well and his ball control was great even in tight areas.
Sergio Romero was alert and he made some vital saves, especially in the first half of the match. Before the first Sampdoria goal, ‘i doriani’ had more possession but the ‘grifoni’ were creating clearer chances.
Poli scored after 16 minutes and it was fitting that Poli scored the first goal of the match. He had scored his first goal for Sampdoria and it reflected his style of play. He read the through-ball well and finished with a clever turn and shot. The goal gave Sampdoria the will to keep up the pressure and creating chances. ‘I doriani’ looked more confident in possession after the goal.
Young forward Mauro Icardi made his first Serie A start and he gave the Genoa defence constant headaches. He knew how to get into goal-scoring positions and link-up with his teammates. He wasted two chances before half-time but he forced Cesare Bovo into scoring an own goal. Munari almost dribbled around Frey but the Genoa keeper managed to snatch the ball from the Sampdoria midfielder’s legs.
Sampdoria looked happy to defend its 2-0 after half-time, allowing the ‘genoani’ to control possession. As Juan Manuel Vargas got into the game, the more threatening Genoa’s attacks were. If Vargas was a pest on the left-wing, Ferrara decided throw on a winger too, replacing Nenad Krsticic with Marcelo Estigarribia. The Paraguayan gave Doria some width and his pace was useful when the ‘blucerchiati’ had to bring the margin back to two goals.
Immobile had been a thorn in Sampdoria’s side all match and he scored the goal to pull it to 2-1. ‘I doriani’ had to come out and attack to make the points safe and give their defence a rest.
With less than 10 minutes to go, Marco Rossi came on for Genoa and Fernando Tissone came on for Doria. Rossi is the biggest anti-Doria out there but he came on too late to impose himself on the game with his antagonistic manner. Tissone lacked confidence when playing for Sampdoria in previous seasons. He looked scared to throw himself into challenges and he wasn’t comfortable on the ball. Fears of a Genoa equaliser did evaporate though thanks to Tissone.
With three minutes to go, the Argentine midfielder went for a little run and made a great through-ball for Icardi, who coolly finished to score his first-ever Serie A goal. If Tissone can play with confidence, you know that it’s going to be your day. He had never looked so calm before that assist.
Icardi only scored one goal but he could have added to his tally. He still played great in the derby and got a well-deserved standing ovation. Sampdoria won the Derby della Laterna for the first time since April 2010 and won in a better manner than in the derby wins from the previous decade.
Romero was a rock in the Doria goal. Aside from the Ciro Immobile goal, hardly anything went past him. The Argentine international was quick to react to anything Genoa threw at him.
The Doria defenders were generally solid, especially in the second half. They were eager to hold on the two-goal lead. Costa stood out in my opinion but all defenders played their part.
Pedro Obiang was solid in the holding midfielder role, intercepting many of Genoa’s passes and quick to bring teammates into the game with his short passes. Along with Poli and Enzo Maresca, he is an important part of the Doria midfield.
Despite some absences, the players used in the line-up and a horrible run leading into the match, Sampdoria played some of its best football all season. The fans will be hoping that the rest of the season will be plain sailing the hard times have past. Ferrara managed to get things right, the players lifted in one of the most important matches of the season and Doria has sent their rivals to the bottom of the table.
This was a great win. Regardless of what happens next, it will be a win that all ‘doriani’ will remember for some time.
Mock funeral for Genoa, anyone?