Chievo were clinical in making the most of Sampdoria mistakes for a 2-1 victory, though Luis Muriel scored on his debut.
The Blucerchiati were without a win in three and gave Eto’o his first start along with debutants Afriyie Acquah and Joaquin Correa, as Stefano Okaka was suspended with Ezequiel Munoz and Fabrizio Cacciatore sidelined. The Flying Donkeys were eager to build on last week’s important victory over Parma, but had Ivan Radovanovic banned.
Samp had only ever lost this fixture once in the top flight, winning three and drawing the other five.
It took all of 90 seconds for Chievo to take the surprise lead with Mariano Izco, whose shot took a huge deflection off Alessio Romagnoli to surprise Emiliano Viviano at the near post.
Eto’o sent Pawel Wszolek through on goal, forcing a fine save out of Albano Bizzarri, while Riccardo Meggiorini and Valter Birsa drilled wide. Alfred Duncan almost scored directly from the corner flag, testing Bizzarri at full stretch.
Sampdoria were pushing forward, but Meggiorini caught Wszolek in possession after a Blucerchiati corner to pounce on the last man, sprinting from his own half to fire past Viviano one-on-one. It was a gift of a defensive error.
Luis Muriel also made his Samp debut in the second half, but the Blucerchiati were unable to create genuine scoring opportunities.
When they did get into great positions, the finishing was wasteful. Djamel Mesbah volleyed into the ground at the back post, seeing it bounce over from six yards on the Wszolek cross.
Birsa tried his luck from distance and Alberto Paloschi didn’t get enough power to the header. Nicolas Frey – already wearing a helmet after a head injury – was in the wars again after a knock to the back.
Alberto Paloschi had penalty appeals waved away for a shirt tug as he tried to turn Angelo Palombo, infuriating Coach Rolando Maran.
Eto’o fired a snapshot from distance just over the bar and the two January signings combined to at least get one back for Sampdoria. In stoppages the ex-Everton striker sent Muriel through and the Colombian flicked the finish over the on-rushing goalkeeper. Remarkably, Muriel had not scored a Serie A goal for 364 days.
Moments later it was almost 2-2, as an Eto’o curler shaved a coat of paint off the crossbar with Bizzarri flapping wildly.
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