Manolo Gabbiadini’s free kick and a Gaston Ramirez penalty allowed Sampdoria to turn over 10-man Udinese for a precious relegation dogfight victory.
Bartosz Bereszynski and Federico Bonazzoli were suspended for the hosts, who had Gaston Ramirez and Jakub Jankto in a 4-4-2 formation. Udinese had Stefano Okaka and Rodrigo Becao suspended, plus Ken Sema injured.
There was a minute’s silence before kick-off for Samp legend Ermanno Cristin, who played 180 games for the club from 1965-72 and died this week.
Udinese thought they’d taken the lead in the third minute when a corner was not cleared properly and Sebastien De Maio’s cross found Ilija Nestorovski for a free header at the back post. However, the former Palermo striker’s goal was disallowed, as he was marginally offside.
Samp breathed a sigh of relief and had their own close call, as Gaston Ramirez’s header bounced off the far post on a Jakub Jankto cross.
Manolo Gabbiadini should’ve done better on a Ramirez corner, as Alex Ferrari nodded it down and the striker redirected over from point-blank range.
Jankto again caused problems down the left, his cross-shot from the tightest of angles stinging Juan Musso’s gloves and Ramirez acrobatically turning the rebound on to the side-netting.
Nestorovski got the ball in the back of the net again on 29 minutes and this time it did count. He caught Andrea Bertolacci in possession, surged forward and the left-foot shot took a slight deflection off Omar Colley to go in at the near post. The striker cheekily celebrated with the VAR hand gesture, as it was his first goal in an Udinese jersey.
Bertolacci’s strike was straight at Musso, but Samp lost Fabio Depaoli to a sprained ankle. Not long after, Bertolacci pulled up with a hamstring strain and Karol Linetty made his comeback after two months out.
Gabbiadini forced an excellent save out of Musso at the near bottom corner, because his scorcher from a long way out took a deflection off William Troost-Ekong.
The Blucerchiati finally equalised deep into first half stoppages with a trademark Gabbiadini free kick. He curled it with precision and power right into the near top corner, making it impossible for Musso to save.
Udinese shot themselves in the foot straight after the restart, because Mato Jajalo was already on a yellow card when he made a futile lunge from behind in midfield on Ramirez and was sent off.
Samp confirmed all their difficulties in scoring goals and struggled to break down the 10-man Friulani. In fact, Bram Nuytinck misplaced effort turned into an accidental assist that Kevin Lasagna prodded just wide.
Ramirez tested Musso from a long way out and the goalkeeper smothered a Quagliarella cross-shot at the feet of Gabbiadini.
However, Troost-Ekong clumsily mistimed the tackle on Quagliarella from behind and the referee awarded a penalty after viewing it on VAR. Gaston Ramirez fired into the near bottom corner with Musso rooted to the spot.
Udinese did not give in and Ignacio Pussetto’s viciously dipping strike squirmed away from Emil Audero, the goalkeeper just about getting it under control.
Samp held on for their first home win in two months.
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Sent off: Jajalo 50 (U)