Benevento completed an extraordinary comeback from 2-0 down to beat Sampdoria 3-2 at Marassi, with Luca Caldirola’s brace and Gaetano Letizia.
This was the first game of the season for Pippo Inzaghi’s Streghe, whose Week 1 fixture with Inter was postponed to September 30 due to the Nerazzurri’s Europa League extended campaign. Benevento dominated Serie B last term, winning with a 20-point gap from second, but transformed with numerous new players over the summer. Nicolas Viola, Oliver Kragl and Federico Barba were injured, with Gianluca Caprari facing his former club. Claudio Ranieri bitterly criticised Samp following their 3-0 defeat to Juventus and made changes with Fabio Quagliarella’s return and the debut for Antonio Candreva.
Benevento’s first ever Serie A match was a defeat away to Sampdoria in 2017.
Federico Bonazzoli only grazed Jakub Jankto’s cross as he came sliding in, turning it inches wide of the far post. Samp’s goal did arrive moments later, as goalkeeper Lorenzo Montipò made a huge error with a misplaced pass, intercepted by Bonazzoli to set up the Quagliarella tap-in.
That means Quagliarella has now scored in each of the last 16 Serie A seasons.
Candreva marked his debut with an assist, curling a cross after a short corner on to the head of Omar Colley to double Sampdoria’s advantage.
Le Streghe tried to fight back and Gabriele Moncini thought his header at the back post was in, but Emil Audero somehow managed to claw it off the line.
The goal was coming from Benevento, as Audero flew to palm a Bryan Dabo snapshot away and on the resulting corner, Luca Caldirola fired in from just inside the area. It was the 29-year-old defender’s Serie A debut.
After the restart, the visitors kept pushing, with Roberto Insigne’s angled drive skimming the far post after a Colley error and a Moncini volley charged down by the Gambian. Moncini also fired wide with a golden opportunity at the back stick.
Benevento got a deserved equaliser with Caldirola yet again, this time with a glancing header on a corner at the near post.
Manolo Gabbiadini came off the bench and his first touch was a cushioned header that bounced off the far post. Moments later, Samp had the ball in the net, but Fabio Depaoli was clearly offside.
Pippo Inzaghi introduced more strikers, as he wanted all three points, and that positive attitude paid off. Marco Sau struggled to get control of Improta’s cross, but kept his head to turn and set it up for Gaetano Letizia’s daisy-cutter from outside the area into the near bottom corner. The turnaround was complete, from 2-0 down to 3-2 up.
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