Sampdoria fought back with a Fabio Quagliarella brace to beat impressive Serie A debutants Benevento after an Amato Ciciretti scorcher.
The Blucerchiati were hoping to build on last term, although they had sold Luis Muriel and Bruno Fernandes, while Patrik Schick was still waiting to discover his future. Emiliano Viviano and Dodo (who fractured his arm in training) were in the stands, while the visitors missed Raman Chibsah, Fabio Ceravolo and suspended Mirko Eramo.
This was an historic moment, as Benevento made their first ever Serie A appearance. Until last year, they’d never even played in Serie B, but earned a shock promotion via the play-offs.
Incredibly, Benevento took the lead at Marassi with their maiden top flight goal and it was a beauty too. Amato Ciciretti controlled on the outside edge of the area and curled a magnificent left-foot strike into the far bottom corner.
It was almost 2-0, as Christian Puggioni needed a desperate save to fingertip Massimo Coda’s effort out from under the bar on a Ciciretti cross.
However, veteran Fabio Quagliarella came to the rescue of his younger teammates, as Vid Belec performed a desperate reaction save on Dennis Praet from the corner, but could do nothing on the follow-up.
Samp almost turned it around moments later, but Belec beat away a Gaston Ramirez tap-in and got back up to parry the rebound too.
Ciciretti had a shot charged down straight after the restart, but Danilo Cataldi’s pretentious pass was intercepted by Gaston Ramirez, who immediately threaded through for Quagliarella to turn the game around.
George Puscas, on loan from Inter, had a great chance for Benevento to equalise, but his free header from a Ciciretti cross skimmed the woodwork.
Puscas had another opportunity when sent clear by Marco D’Alessandro, but hesitated and allowed Vasco Regini to deflect over the bar.
It was all Benevento in the final stages, as in stoppages Puggioni had to palm a Coda effort over the bar.