Palermo sent Sampdoria to a seventh consecutive defeat thanks to 18-year-old talent Paulo Dybala’s debut Serie A brace. La Joya won’t turn 19 until November 15, but he's set a new negative club record for the Blucerchiati.
Both teams were increasingly desperate, as Samp had lost six on the bounce while the Rosanero has four points from the last five rounds. Ciro Ferrara adjusted to a 4-2-3-1 system, missing Maxi Lopez, Nicola Pozzi, Gaetano Berardi, Andrea Poli and Nenad Krsticic. Shkodran Mustafi was given his Serie A debut. Palermo gave €12m signing Dybala a rare start, as they were without Fabrizio Miccoli, Andrea Mantovani and Abel Hernandez, but Massimo Donati returned at centre-back.
Sampdoria almost didn’t make it to Sicily, as their flight from Genoa was cancelled due to flood warnings so they had to reach Pisa by bus and take another plane from there.
In the opening minutes Sergio Romero turned Dybala’s effort on to the side-netting from a tight angle, as Palermo had the more aggressive start.
Franco Brienza dribbled brilliantly to the by-line by nutmegging 20-year-old Mustafi and pulled back for Josip Ilicic, but the Slovenian ballooned over the bar from a very promising position.
Eder also went on a mazy run into the box only to receive a yellow card for simulation as he went down far too easily as soon as Ezequiel Munoz brushed past him.
Moments later Dybala burst into the box and pulled his angled drive wide of the far post from nine yards when the teenager really should’ve done better.
Brienza’s dribbling skills set up another chance for Dybala, this time deflected for a corner, and the Argentine scuffed a shot into the arms of Romero from the D.
There was a curious moment on the touchline when a challenge saw the ball ping straight into Sampdoria Coach Ferrara’s face, knocking his glasses off!
Dybala pounced on a Jonathan Rossini defensive error to created a good chance, but Edgar Barreto drilled wide. Palermo were unlucky before the break, as Dybala turned his defender well and the shot was on target, but Romero stuck out a foot and the ball looped up on to the roof of the net. That deflection could so easily have gone into the empty goal.
Dybala did eventually break his deadlock both in this game and his Serie A career. Brienza set up the summer signing and he smashed a left-foot finish into the near top corner.
Munoz was stunned when he received a yellow card for an excellent tackle and Samir Ujkani spilled the resulting Eder free kick, but got hold of it at the second attempt.
Sampdoria’s half-hearted attempts at a fightback came to nothing and Dybala completed his first Italian brace. The 18-year-old sprung the offside trap on the edge of the box and spun round to place a powerful angled drive across Romero into the far bottom corner.
Ujkani beat away an Icardi effort at the base of the near post, but Dybala thought he was going to get a hat-trick in stoppages when charging forward on the counter-attack, but Romero performed a crucial save.
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