Duvan Zapata came off the bench to score a stunning individual effort as Sampdoria pushed past Udinese 2-1.
The Blucerchiati were caught in joint sixth place by Milan in their defeat to the Rossoneri last week, but had Gaston Ramirez and Dennis Praet available again. Off-form Duvan Zapata was dropped in favour of Gianluca Caprari. The Friulani were coming off two consecutive defeats and without a win in almost a month, as the honeymoon period was most definitely finished. Despite missing injured Kevin Lasagna and suspended Stipe Perica, he still left Maxi Lopez on the bench to use Jakub Jankto in a more advanced role.
Udinese have won only one of their last 11 Serie A trips to Marassi, 2-0 in December 2012, along with six draws and five losses.
Jakub Jankto had a great early chance when he countered from his own half and stung Emiliano Viviano’s gloves at the near post. They were unlucky not to take the lead, as Danilo’s header from a corner bounced off the inside of the far post and back out again.
Fabio Quagliarella tested Albano Bizzarri and Gianluca Caprari drilled wide, but the deadlock was broken by Samp when a corner wasn’t cleared. It came to Matias Silvestre on the penalty spot, he controlled with his left foot and curled into the bottom corner with his right. It was the defender’s first Serie A goal since 2013.
The Blucerchiati lost Gaston Ramirez to injury just before half-time and Rodrigo De Paul set up an opportunity on a plate for Silvan Widmer only to see the Swiss international fire wide unmarked.
A ferocious Seko Fofana right-foot strike from a tight angle bounced off the crossbar on 56 minutes, then Balic watched a deflected corner come down to the edge of the box for his splendid volley that flashed inches wide.
It turned into a siege on Viviano’s goal, but Duvan Zapata doubled Samp’s lead with an absolute stunner. He gathered on the edge of his own penalty area, went on a rugby-style run holding off tackles and then from a tight angle placed the precise lob into the far top corner.
However, it still wasn’t over, as Ali Adnan’s cross-shot went in with the aid of a deflection off Silvestre at the near post to make it a very tense final few minutes.
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