Gregoire Defrel has given Sampdoria the half-time lead in the Derby della Lanterna, but only a goal-line clearance denied Fabio Quagliarella.
This is one of the most passionate local derbies in Italy and Marassi is packed out, although the two clubs are fighting for very different targets this season. Albin Ekdal returned from a knee injury to start in the Samp midfield, while Genoa had Stefano Sturaro suspended, but welcomed back Cristian Romero and Ervin Zukanovic from their bans.
It was a dramatic start to the game, as in the opening three minutes Christian Kouame’s curler from distance flashed just wide, Karol Linetty turned defenders to test Ionut Radu at the near post and on the resulting corner Sampdoria took the lead.
The ball was not cleared effectively, Fabio Quagliarella flashed an inviting ball across the face of goal for Gregoire Defrel to tap in.
Gaston Ramirez’s free kick was palmed away and Dennis Praet saw his volley hit the side-netting when totally unmarked. Quagliarella thought he’d scored when meeting a Linetty assist, but Davide Biraschi sprinted back for a decisive goal-line clearance on 35 minutes.
Emil Audero was called into his first real save soon after, getting down to push a Miguel Veloso volley round the base of the near post.
Sampdoria 1-0 Genoa (Half-Time)
Defrel 3 (S)
Sampdoria: Audero; Sala, Andersen, Colley, Murru; Praet, Ekdal, Linetty; Ramirez; Quagliarella, Defrel
Genoa: Radu; Biraschi, Romero, Criscito; Pereira, Rolon, Veloso, Bessa, Lazovic; Pandev, Kouame
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