Maxi Lopez’s first half goal was enough to give Sampdoria a hard-fought 1-0 win over their city rivals Genoa.
Sinisa Mihajlovic gave Maxi Lopez his second debut for the Bluerchiati, as the Catania loanee led the line in his first match back since re-signing. Gian Piero Gasperini meanwhile, opted for the same starting XI that drew 3-3 with Fiorentina in Week 21.
As was expected, it was a fiery atmosphere at the Marassi, with fans turning up in their droves after they had threatened to boycott the match if it had taken place at its original Sunday luchtime slot. Luckily though, League authorities resisted, and rearranged for Monday.
It was a typically tense start to the game, with both sides feeling their way slowly into the fixture. But it was the registered away side who went closest early on, when Angelo Palombo lofted a free kick over the wall and past Mattia Perin – but also wide of the post.
The visitors were really taking it to the Grifone, but thankfully for their supporters, Perin was in commanding form, coming bravely for a couple of Roberto Soriano crosses.
But the shot-stopper could do nothing on 24 minutes when Maxi Lopez played a one-two with Eder before shooting across the youngster for the opening goal.
The Argentine forward almost doubled his tally soon after that, however his effort from the edge of the area was saved well by Perin, who was being kept busy by his lacklustre defensive line.
The home team were struggling to create any meaningful opportunities, but almost equalised right on the stroke of half time, only for Andrea Bertolacci to be flagged offside.
After the break, Gasperini’s men came out all guns blazing looking for a way back into the game. Their high ball, route one gameplan however, was not paying dividends, with the Samp defence remaining solid.
Whenever they did get through though, Junior Da Costa was on hand, as Matuzalem found out on the hour mark when his shot was saved well by the Brazilian.
If the Samp goalkeeper couldn’t save the day however, the linesman could, as Moussa Konate was ruled offside as he bore down on goal.
The Bluerchiati eventually dug out and got the three points against their bitter cross-town rivals.