Sampdoria pushed Verona aside to close the gap on the Champions League places, but it could’ve been a heavier result.
The Blucerchiati had to do without suspended Gaston Ramirez and Vid Belec, while Dennis Praet is out for several weeks with a thigh strain, so Gianluca Caprari started in the trequartista role. Hellas missed Alessio Cerci, but Moise Kean returned from his ban to bolster the attack.
Sampdoria have never lost a competitive home game to Verona, although the Mastini did win 1-0 here in a friendly last summer. Samp also won five of their last seven meetings with Hellas, scoring 20 goals in the process and conceding only four.
It was an aggressive start from the hosts and Nicolas performed a stunning reaction save from point-blank range on Karol Linetty after a Caprari assist.
When Nicolas was beaten by a chipped Caprari pass for Fabio Quagliarella’s free header, it was Vukovic who came to the rescue with a fortunate goal-line clearance from six yards.
Nicolas slipped with the ball at his feet, but got straight back up and rushed forward to deny Duvan Zapata.
Sampdoria finally broke through straight after the restart, as Caprari’s cross from the left found Edgar Barreto unmarked for a free header from seven yards.
It should’ve been 2-0 when Duvan Zapata went clear on the counter, but with Nicolas rushing off his line, the Colombian over-hit the lob and put it over an empty net.
Verona introduced Daniele Verde and he brightened up their performance considerably, but Mohamed Fares made a decisive interception to stop two Samp players going clear on Nicola Murru’s counter-attack.
The Blucerchiati did double their lead late on when Valoti tripped Dawid Kownacki and Quagliarella buried the penalty.
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