A sensational Josip Ilicic slalom put Palermo on their way to the first away victory of the season, as conquering Sampdoria puts them closer to safety.
This was a relegation dogfight, though the Sicilians were in a decidedly more precarious position in penultimate place. Delio Rossi faced his former club, but was without Nenad Krsticic and the suspended Andrea Poli. Palermo were boosted by last week’s win over Roma, their first since November, but Ezequiel Munoz sat out a ban with Abel Hernandez and Andrea Mantovani sidelined. Goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was not even on the bench after suffering from illness this week, while Andrea Dossena pulled out in the warm-up to be replaced by Santiago Garcia.
Daniele Gastaldello and Josip Ilicic had early efforts smothered, but Fabrizio Miccoli really should’ve scored on 23 minutes.
The Palermo captain was sent clear by an Ilicic pass and was one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but his angled drive was a little too central and Sergio Romero was able to get a fingertip to it.
Edgar Barreto blasted just wide from distance, while Mauro Icardi couldn’t get a clean header to Andrea Costa’s cross.
Palermo took a deserved lead in chaotic circumstances. Miccoli hit a long free kick to the back post where Steve Von Bergen took Romero by surprise, getting a toe to turn it in from six yards. The goalkeeper seemed to assume it was going straight out and was made to look quite silly.
Sampdoria drew level thanks to a double defensive error. Palermo gave away an avoidable corner kick, then from that set piece Gianni Munari was allowed a totally free header.
Palermo restored their advantage with a sensational solo effort from Ilicic. He started from midfield, dribbled past four players and rolled the finish past an on-rushing Romero from 10 yards.
Eder fired just over, but Palermo were dominating at Marassi and made it 3-1. A Miccoli corner found Santiago Garcia at the back post for a free header from six yards, anticipating Costa and the hesitant Romero.
It was almost 4-1 with Miccoli’s finish dribbling inches past the base of the upright, then Ilicic tried to repeat his earlier goal with another slalom, this time ballooning over at the end.
Arevalo Rios also waltzed through the Blucerchiati jerseys to test Romero.