Sampdoria and Milan both had good chances, but were unable to break the deadlock at Marassi.
The Blucerchiati caused the shock of the season when they fought back from a goal down to win 2-1 away to Juventus despite playing with 10 men for an hour. Gaetano Berardi was sent off in Turin and therefore suspended for this game, while Enzo Maresca, Maxi Lopez and Nicola Pozzi were injured.
Milan were knocked out of the Coppa Italia in extra time by Juventus on Wednesday. Giampaolo Pazzini was banned against his former club, while Daniele Bonera, Mario Yepes, Sulley Muntari, Luca Antonini, Djamel Mesbah and Nigel De Jong were on the treatment table.
The Rossoneri’s last victory at Marassi was six years ago, but they used a trident attack with a combined age of 60.
Christian Abbiati had his palms stung after five minutes by Lorenzo De Silvestri, then the goalkeeper flew to flap an Andrea Poli off target. Abbiati was again forced to push a fierce Eder free kick out from under the bar, as Samp had a very aggressive start.
Daniele Gastaldello couldn’t keep his free header down from a corner to the back post. Milal finally had their first chance after 21 minutes with Riccardo Montolivo’s effort charged down.
Massimo Ambrosini’s muscular problems flared up again, so he had to make way for Mathieu Flamini.
Sergio Romero fumbled another Montolivo snapshot from distance, but nobody was ready to follow it up. A Bojan Krkic solo run came to nothing with a wayward finish.
Within 40 seconds of the restart, Niang had burst down the right and his cross-shot was flapped away by Romero. From that corner, there were Milan appeals for a De Silvestri handling offence, but it seemed to be ball-to-hand.
Marcelo Estigarribia’s strike from distance took a deflection off Cristian Zapata, looping wide with Abbiati stranded.
On the hour mark Milan had a fantastic opportunity. Niang pulled across the face of goal, Bojan flicked it on for Boateng and Romero scrambled back desperately to clear off the line.
Samp immediately went on the counter and Abbiati was at full stretch to fingertip an angled Estigarribia drive round the post.
Moments later Mauro Icardi was sent clear on goal, but fired wide of an open net as Abbiati came tearing out. De Silvestri flashed a shot across the face of goal. Robinho made his comeback after the failed transfer to Santos, replacing a surprisingly sluggish El Shaarawy.
Flamini tried to pounce on a Fernando Tissone error, but his opponent got back to deflect the finish wide. From that corner, Romero smothered the Philippe Mexes header.
Boateng fired high and wide in stoppages from a promising position, then was caught offside from a well-worked free kick.