Sampdoria completed a remarkable comeback after Bryan Cristante’s goal to beat Atalanta 3-1 with decisive substitutions.
The Blucerchiati had been unbeaten until a shock 4-0 defeat to Udinese before the break for international duty. With Edgar Barreto suspended and Emiliano Viviano injured, Coach Marco Giampaolo chose Gaston Ramirez behind Fabio Quagliarella and Duvan Zapata. The Orobici were brimming with confidence thanks to Serie A and Europa League success, fighting back from 2-0 down to hold Juventus in the last round. Rafael Toloi was still out of action.
Atalanta have now won just five of their 51 competitive trips to Sampdoria, drawing 15 and losing 31. The most recent success was 2-1 in November 2012, followed by one point from five visits, in which they scored once.
Etrit Berisha got away with a howler in the opening minutes, making up for his terrible footwork with a desperate tackle on Fabio Quagliarella.
However, it was overall a much stronger start from Atalanta, as Josip Ilicic wasted a great chance and Remo Freuler’s low drive was beaten away by Christian Puggioni with some difficulty.
Atalanta eventually got their deserved opener, as Leonardo Spinazzola whipped in a cross from the left and Bryan Cristante snuck up behind the centre-backs for a glancing header.
That was Cristante’s second goal in as many games and he almost added another, as Andrea Petagna knocked down a cross and the midfielder hit the side-netting from a tight angle.
Samp emerged from the siege on 32 minutes, Duvan Zapata latching on to a Dennis Praet assist but Berisha was quick off his line to narrow the angle.
Marco Giampaolo made a double change at the break and it paid off, as they got the equaliser when Quagliarella fought to keep the ball in play at the by-line, getting the cross in from an improbable angle for Duvan Zapata’s header.
The game was turned around completely with a well-worked team move. Ivan Strinic got down the left and his cross found a diving header from substitute Gianluca Caprari.
Atalanta had to shake things up and introduced Papu Gomez, who was rested after international duty with Argentina, and he immediately stung Puggioni’s gloves.
However, Sampdoria added a third goal, as Andrea Masiello didn’t cut out the Praet through ball and Karol Linetty curled a wonderful finish into the far top corner from a tight angle.
A header from Andreas Cornelius skimmed the woodwork and Gomez hit the side-netting, but with the last kick of the game, Puggioni made a double save on Cornelius from point-blank range.