Sampdoria dominated Sassuolo with a crushing 5-3 away victory, providing quality as well as quantity, including Fabio Quagliarella’s 21st goal of the season.
Mehdi Bourabia was suspended for the Neroverdi, who also miss Francesco Magnanelli, Enrico Brignola and Rogerio, so Federico Di Francesco was given a wider role with Domenico Berardi and Jeremie Boga supporting the striker. Samp missed Gianluca Caprari, Jacopo Sala and Edgar Barreto, but Gregoire Defrel was given a starting spot just days after he crashed his car, reportedly while under the influence.
It was the perfect response from Defrel, as he started and finished the move for an excellent team goal. He ran from inside his own half, spread the ball to the right for Manolo Gabbiadini, whose cross was knocked down by Fabio Quagliarella for the Defrel chest and volley from seven yards.
Stefano Sensi and Joachin Andersen had efforts from distance, while Pol Lirola’s half-volley flashed across the face of goal.
Quagliarella got his 21st Serie A goal of the season to consolidate his Capocannoniere status, pouncing on Merih Demiral’s weak clearance to curl a splendid finish into the near bottom corner from outside the D.
Samp hit back immediately, Pol Lirola bursting down the right and rolling across the six-yard box, where Jeremie Boga got there faster than anyone for the tap-in at the back post.
However, the Blucerchiati restored their two-goal advantage straight away in a flurry of activity approaching half-time. Quagliarella was involved again, his dummy letting the low cross through for Defrel, who knocked it back for Karol Linetty’s strike from the edge of the box.
Sassuolo made a double substitution to shake things up, but within 30 seconds of the restart, Samp had added a fourth goal. Quagliarella’s back-heel flick started it in midfield, Defrel spread to the left for Nicola Murru, whose excellent cross found Denis Praet sliding in for a ferocious volley into the roof of the net at the back post.
The Neroverdi had a stroke of luck, as Alfred Duncan’s hopeful long-range effort took a huge deflection off Andersen’s ankle to wrong-foot Emil Audero at the base of the near post.
Domenico Berardi’s curler was charged down, then Consigli made a stunning one-handed save to deny Quagliarella’s powerful finish at the near post.
Gabbiadini ran on to a Linetty assist to place his right-foot angled drive into the far bottom corner for Sampdoria’s fifth.
Sassuolo’s heads dropped, but deep into stoppages, Babacar made the scoreline a little less painful with a fantastic right-foot curler into the top corner from the edge of the D.
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