Sassuolo fought till the last second for a thrilling 4-3 victory away to 10-man Sampdoria as Domenico Berardi got a hat-trick.
This was a real relegation dogfight between two of the top candidates to go down. Samp had a disastrous start to the season and a run of two surprise straight wins came tumbling back down to earth with defeat at Verona midweek. Sassuolo had one victory all term and lost at home to Udinese on Wednesday.
Simone Zaza was suspended following his red card, joining the injured Emanuele Terranova and Carl Valeri. Samp missed Paolo Castellini, Antonino Barilla’, Enzo Maresca, Bartosz Salamon and Gianluca Sansone.
The last time these sides clashed was in the 2012 Serie B promotion play-off, when the Blucerchiati got their ticket to the top flight.
Eder should’ve done better after six minutes when blasting over from 12 yards relatively unmarked, while Junior Da Costa did well to capture an Antonio Floro Flores free kick.
Sampdoria opened the scoring when an Eder free kick was knocked down by Andrea Coda for Nicola Pozzi’s diving header at the back stick.
A Floro Flores overhead kick was off target, but Marcello Gazzola thought he’d scored with a half-volley at the back stick on Francesco Acerbi’s cross, denied by a Daniele Gastaldello goalline clearance.
Sassuolo equalised at the dawn of the second half when a cross beat both Floro Flores and Costa, so 19-year-old Domenico Berardi was quickest to react and turned in from 10 yards.
It was a nightmare opening for Sampdoria, who moments later saw Costa trip Berardi – who went looking for the leg – for a penalty and second yellow card. Berardi converted successfully to complete his brace and turn the game around completely.
Floro Flores robbed Lorenzo De Silvestri and dribbled past two others, but a deflection made the shot easier for Da Costa to smother.
Ex-Genoa striker Floro Flores got his goal eventually, shaking off Shkordran Mustafi in midfield and surging forward to fire past Da Costa one-on-one.
It still wasn’t over, as 10-man Sampdoria pulled one back moments later. Pozzi knocked down a cross for Eder, who anticipated the goalkeeper to flick in from six yards.
Eder went close again soon after, his shot from the edge of the box deflected just wide.
De Silvestri got 10-man Sampdoria back on level terms with nine minutes to go. His first header from a corner hit the bar, but he got the rebound into the net.
The Blucerchiati wanted to win it now and Gianluca Pegolo plucked an Eder curler out from under the bar. Less than 30 seconds later Alexe volleyed over from six yards on Berardi’s cross.
However, in the final minutes Mustafi completely mistimed a sliding tackle on Farias and Berardi kept his cool to convert another penalty, completing his hat-trick.
Alexe should’ve made it 5-3 in stoppages, but went for goal rather than passing to an unmarked teammate and allowed Da Costa to block with his fingertips.
Sent off: Costa 51 (Sam)