Sampdoria recovered from a shock early Sassuolo lead, but the Neroverdi earned a precious point despite missing all three star strikers.
Samuel Eto’o was on the bench and back in the squad after a blazing row with Sinisa Mihajlovic on Monday, when he walked out on training. Stefano Okaka partnered Eder with support from Roberto Soriano, while new signing Ezequiel Munoz was thrown straight into the starting XI for banned Matias Silvestre. Sassuolo had their entire trident attack suspended, missing Simone Zaza, Domenico Berardi and Nicola Sansone.
Absolutely shocking defending gave Sassuolo an early start, as within two minutes Francesco Acerbi had been allowed a totally free header on Sime Vrsaljko’s cross from the right.
Emiliano Viviano got his fingertips to a Dejan Lazarevic effort at the near top corner, but Eder shrugged off Vrsaljko’s marking for a rare header to draw Samp level on Soriano’s cross.
Vrsaljko had an eventful start to the match, as he then limped off with a muscular problem. Ezequiel Munoz almost scored on his Samp debut, but was denied at the back stick by a one-handed Andrea Consigli save on Alfred Duncan’s free kick.
Sergio Floccari engaged in a duel with goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano, forcing a difficult save with his volley from the edge of the box. Floccari then sprung the offside trap on a Paolo Cannavaro ball over the top, but hesitated as Viviano sprinted off the line and got his fingertips to the lob.
Munoz was stretchered off with a muscular injury and replaced by another January signing, Andrea Coda. This was his first appearance in nine months and his 200th in Serie A overall.
Okaka fired inches over the bar on the half-volley, but Eder really should’ve scored on an Okaka assist, not getting enough power when one-on-one and allowing Consigli to block with his legs.
Soriano ballooned over from a promising position and Floro Flores fired straight at Viviano. The visitors were unlucky when Gazzola’s strike took a couple of ricochets and bounced off Cannavaro’s shins from close range. Lazarevic also turned over on the counter and Floccari couldn’t quite tap in after a series of rebounds.
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