Sampdoria made short work of Cagliari and send the Sardinians down to the genuine risk of relegation.
Both sides had strong motivation for points, as Samp wanted to keep their Europa League dreams alive and the Sardinians just had to stay afloat in Serie A, as they were four points clear of the drop zone. The hosts found themselves dealing with an injury crisis in attack, as Duvan Zapata, Gianluca Caprari and Ricky Alvarez all missed out, with Fabio Quagliarella (making his 400th Serie A appearance) partnered by Dawid Kownacki and Dennis Praet in a more advanced role. Diego Farias and Daniele Dessena didn’t make the trip with Joao Pedro still sitting out his doping ban. It was like a derby for ex-Genoa fan favourite Leonardo Pavoletti.
It didn’t take long for Praet to impress as a trequartista, because he turned Luca Ceppitelli and drilled low into the near bottom corner.
Samp added a second, Karol Linetty rolling across for Fabio Quagliarella to tap in from close range relatively undisturbed.
The Cagliari defence was doing so badly that Coach Diego Lopez made a tactical change just 33 minutes in, removing Fabio Pisacane to introduce striker Diego Farias.
It didn’t help, as Nicolò Barella was penalised for pushing Lucas Torreira in the box, but Quagliarella stepped up and his spot-kick clipped the post.
There was still time for a third created in Poland, as Bartosz Bereszynski whipped in the cross from the right for Kownacki to volley right-footed under the bar.
The injury crisis intensified, as Quagliarella also went off, and Cagliari pulled one back. It was rolled across by Paolo Faragò for the totally unmarked Leonardo Pavoletti to tap in from close range.
Luca Cigarini showed naivete for one of such experience, getting himself sent off for a second bookable offence on Gaston Ramirez.
Sampdoria rounded out the scoreline late on, as Karol Linetty’s scorcher cannoned off the bar and Ramirez fired in the rebound.
There was still time for Cagliari to come close, as Luca Ceppitelli’s glancing header clipped the post with the last kick of the game.
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Missed penalty: Quagliarella 42 (S)
Sent off: Cigarini 77 (C)