Manolo Gabbiadini snatched a 2-2 draw with Udinese in this topsy-turvy Sampdoria match.
The Blucerchiati were determined to end 2014 on a high after a remarkable year under Sinisa Mihajlovic. They were challenging for third place, held leaders Juventus to a 1-1 draw in Turin last week and had lost only once all season. On the other hand, Udinese were deeply inconsistent, able to beat Inter at San Siro and lose at home to Genoa.
Alessio Romagnoli and Allan sat out bans, while Matias Silvestre, Pawel Wszolek, Luis Muriel and Maurizio Domizzi were sidelined. Manolo Gabbiadini played probably his final game for Samp, as he’s due to join Napoli. Antonio Di Natale was surprisingly dropped, giving Alexander Geijo his first Serie A start.
Spanish striker Geijo was eager to make his mark and turned over from a promising Silvan Widmer assist in the opening minutes.
It was Samp who broke the deadlock, as Orestis Karnezis went to punch Angelo Palombo’s cross meekly into the path of Pedro Obiang, able to turn into an empty net.
Panagiotis Kone almost scored a wonderful equaliser, the first-time strike with the inside of the right foot inches over the bar.
Geijo scored his debut Serie A goal, meeting a Kone pull-back from the by-line and flicking it over the on-rushing Sergio Romero with the outside of his boot from five yards.
Udinese turned the game around completely in the space of three minutes. Kone’s corner found Danilo totally unmarked to nod in from 10 yards, as Thereau kept the defenders occupied.
It was a very lively encounter at Marassi, as moments later Eder stung Karnezis’s gloves and Widmer flung himself in the path of Roberto Soriano’s strike.
After the restart Eder’s solo effort whistled wide and Emmanuel Badu threatened to get Udinese’s third, but it was Samp who equalised with a towering header from Gabbiadini on Lorenzo Di Silvestri’s cross. It was the ideal way to mark what is probably his last game for the Blucerchiati.
The Blucerchiati were now dominant again and Karnezis had to beat away an Eder screamer, yet Udinese could’ve won it on 79 minutes with Geijo’s free header smacking against the upright.
Udinese assistant manager Dejan Stankovic seemed utterly bemused when sent off for dissent and the Friulani went down to 10 men for Thomas Heurtaux’s second bookable offence.
It remained wide open to the end, as Fabrizio Cacciatore’s looping header skimmed the far post and Toto’ Di Natale almost grabbed a late winner, his curler just wide. Widmer was decisive to block Djamel Mesbah’s finish in stoppages.
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Sent off: Heurtaux 88 (U)