Gregoire Defrel and a Fabio Quagliarella penalty gave Sampdoria bragging rights, but Genoa were again furious over a harsh red card.
This is one of the most passionate local derbies in Italy and Marassi is packed out, although the two clubs are fighting for very different targets this season. Albin Ekdal returned from a knee injury to start in the Samp midfield, while Genoa had Stefano Sturaro suspended, but welcomed back Cristian Romero and Ervin Zukanovic from their bans.
It was a dramatic start to the game, as in the opening three minutes Christian Kouame’s curler from distance flashed just wide, Karol Linetty turned defenders to test Ionut Radu at the near post and on the resulting corner Sampdoria took the lead.
The ball was not cleared effectively, Fabio Quagliarella flashed an inviting ball across the face of goal for Gregoire Defrel to tap in.
Gaston Ramirez’s free kick was palmed away and Dennis Praet saw his volley hit the side-netting when totally unmarked. Quagliarella thought he’d scored when meeting a Linetty assist, but Davide Biraschi sprinted back for a decisive goal-line clearance on 35 minutes.
Emil Audero was called into his first real save soon after, getting down to push a Miguel Veloso volley round the base of the near post.
There was controversy after the restart, as Defrel tried to go around Biraschi just inside the penalty area and the ball struck the Genoa man’s limp hand. A penalty was awarded, but very harshly Biraschi was also sent off for interrupting a clear scoring opportunity.
Quagliarella sent Radu the wrong way to convert and become sole Capocannoniere again on 22 goals, doubling the Sampdoria lead.
Genoa were down to 10 men and furious, but Goran Pandev went down far too easily under an Ekdal nudge. Soon after, Pandev was booked for simulation after a similar incident and will be suspended for next week’s game.
Jakub Jankto came off the bench and seemed certain to make it 3-0, but was denied by a desperate Cristian Romero block.
Genoa were down to 10, but started to push back with a series of corners, from which Pandev back-heeled the Criscito half-volley just wide.
Quagliarella was about to make it 3-0 right at the death, but was denied one-on-one by Radu.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk
Sent off: Biraschi 52 (G)