Sassuolo earned a surprise victory over Sampdoria, as despite Matteo Politano’s parried penalty and VAR controversy, Alessandro Matri struck late on.
The Blucerchiati had rather lost their way lately, managing one point from the last three rounds, while they were knocked out of the Coppa Italia by Fiorentina midweek. Karol Linetty was still injured, but the Neroverdi missed Stefano Sensi, Claud Adjapong, Davide Biondini and Timo Letschert.
Samp started aggressively, as Pol Lirola went to intercept an Ivan Strinic low cross for Fabio Quagliarella, but deflected it inches past his own goal. From the resulting corner, Matias Silvestre’s header skimmed the woodwork, then Dennis Praet blasted off target.
Matteo Politano fought back, testing Emiliano Viviano with the outside of the boot, and the goalkeeper also palmed away a deflected Domenico Berardi finish.
There was a flurry of Neroverdi activity on 38 minutes with Viviano under siege. He parried a spectacular Politano volley from a tight angle at the near post, then Alfred Duncan and Diego Falcinelli follow-ups were charged down. From the resulting corner, another stunning Politano volley from the edge of the box clipped the outside of the near post.
Samp reacted too, Fabio Quagliarella seeing his strike deflected on to the roof of the net off Lirola. Politano seemed determined to score a stunner and after the restart ran the entire length of the pitch before his angled drive skimmed the upright.
Moments later, Berardi did have the ball in the back of the net, but assist-man Diego Falcinelli was already offside.
Duvan Zapata went off injured to make way for Gianluca Caprari, making Quagliarella the centre-forward, and the ex-Pescara man’s free kick curled over the bar.
Gian Marco Ferrari was penalised for handball when charging down a Politano cross. The Sassuolo striker stepped up to take it himself, but their terrible record from the spot continues, as Viviano flew to palm it away. As the move continued, Lucas Torreira clearly blocked the rebound with both hands, but VAR was not used on what should’ve been another Sassuolo penalty.
Sassuolo did get their goal eventually, as Antonino Ragusa put in a cross from the left and Alessandro Matri got in front of his marker for the volley off the inside of his left foot at the near post.
Saved penalty: Politano 82 (Sas)