Lucas Biglia saw red, but 10-man Lazio still beat Sampdoria with Antonio Candreva and Senad Lulic strikes.
The Biancocelesti needed a victory to keep their European hopes alive, but lost Miroslav Klose to injury at the last minute, so Helder Postiga received his first start. Federico Marchetti, Andre Dias, Diego Novaretti, Emerson and the suspended Cristian Ledesma were also sidelined. Samp missed captain Daniele Gastaldello, so Vasco Regini became a makeshift centre-back, while Nenad Sakic stood in for banned Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic.
It was a very sluggish opening to the game in searing heat, but Keita Balde Diao’s sudden burst of pace from midfield forced a corner from Regini.
There was a nice training ground move from an Angelo Palombo free kick, but Maxi Lopez had the shot charged down. Moments later there was another well-worked exercise, as Manolo Gabbiadini peeled off his marker to fire a corner just wide of the near post.
Helder Postiga’s strike was charged down on the edge of the area, while Junior Da Costa did well to parry an Antonio Candreva effort at the near stick after an Eddy Onazi through ball.
Samp were going through the gamut of training ground set play exercises, but Lazio took the lead from open play just before half-time.
Keita had a series of step-overs to confuse defenders down the right and rolled across for Candreva to fire in from nine yards.
Ex-Barcelona teenager Keita almost added a second when he cut in from the right and sprinted towards goal, but Palombo’s sliding tackle was decisive.
Helder Postiga had a mazy run, but wanted one too many touches and was eventually crowded out. Etrit Berisha had to palm a Manolo Gabbiadini long-range free kick out from under the bar, but the striker went off with a shoulder injury soon after.
Lazio were reduced to 10 men before the hour mark, as Nenad Krsticic dispossessed Biglia and surged forward, so the Argentine came back to trip him. It was the midfielder’s second bookable offence, so he was sent off and will also be suspended against Napoli next week.
Eder’s free kick was deflected off the wall and Samp nearly scored an own goal, as Shkodran Mustafi came sliding in to deflect a Keita cross wide.
At the other end, Berisha was at full stretch to palm a Sansone strike round the far post, but 10-man Lazio doubled their lead.
Stefano Mauri pulled back for Senad Lulic to smash a powerful finish under the bar from 10 yards.
Renan blasted a ball across the face of goal, but nobody was able to get the final touch. Lazio gave Joseph Minala his Serie A debut, the 17-year-old whose age was a matter of debate on the internet.
Lorik Cana tried to run from one end of the pitch to the other, but eventually lost the ball in the opposition penalty area. Eder was furious when he went down in the area under a clumsy Minala challenge, but the referee and goal-line official waved play on.
Berisha almost gifted Sampdoria a goal, as he fumbled a corner on to the head of Roberto Soriano, but Giuseppe Biava was ready for a goalline clearance.
Renan fired straight at Berisha, but only after another potential penalty challenge on Stefano Okaka, while Palombo's free kick whistled wide.
Sent off: Biglia 57 (L)