MILAN: Roberto Soriano struck twice as visitors Sampdoria edged Genoa 3-2 in a thrilling city derby on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) that was delayed on two occasions due to fans throwing smoke flares.
Genoa had won only one of the previous six editions of the ‘Derby della Lanterna’ and Gian Piero Gasperini’s men were again left second best at the clubs’ shared Luigi Ferraris ground as Sampdoria held on amid an exciting finale.
Sampdoria only claimed their first win under new coach Vincenzo Montella prior to the festive break, but the visitors fully deserved their 2-0 lead at the interval thanks to Soriano’s opener and Eder’s 39th-minute strike.
Soriano struck again just after the break, but Sampdoria were lucky to claim all three points after Leonardo Pavoletti twice reduced arrears late in the second half to claim his first brace in Serie A and inspire the hosts to a grandstand finish.
The win moved Sampdoria up to 11th place ahead of the remaining midweek fixtures on Wednesday, while Genoa remain in 17th, just one point above the drop zone.
“It’s always good to win, even winning like this,” Montella told Sky Sport.
“They suffered more than us and we should focus on the good points of tonight without forgetting we have to work on the little mistakes we made.
“But we totally deserved the win.”
Gasperini’s men have now lost five on the trot, prompting speculation about his future.
He said: “This season we have to think about staying up. After five straight defeats, it’s obvious that has to be our focus.
“We made some glaring mistakes tonight which made it difficult to get back into the match, but we never gave up.”
Veteran striker Antonio Cassano, making a rare start for the visitors, played a role in all three of Sampdoria’s goals.
The former Italy international’s through ball was deflected into Soriano’s path, and the latter smashed a low volley past Mattia Perin for an 18th-minute lead.
Cassano was involved again when Carlos Carbonero won back possession in his own half to power down the right. Carbonero’s cutback was poorly cleared and fell to Eder, who sidestepped his marker to slot the ball inside Perin’s near post.
Genoa’s woes deepened only four minutes after the restart, Cassano providing an assist for Soriano that the forward swept easily into the net to claim his second, prompting the ire of the home fans.
The fixture had already been delayed by several minutes before kick-off because of the poor visibility caused by smoke flares, and Soriano’s second prompted Genoa fans to throw several flares onto the pitch, prompting the intervention of firemen.
Yet the incident appeared to fire up the hosts, who launched a rousing comeback only to be denied a share of the points at the death.
Pavoletti reduced the arrears in the 69th minute when he rose above the Samp defence to fire a header into the net, and moments later Darko Lazovic saw his low drive inch just wide of the post.
Pavoletti grabbed his second nine minutes from time when he headed into an empty net from a yard out after Emiliano Viviano mistimed his attempted interception after rushing out of his goal.
Genoa spurned several chances for a late leveller, Viviano blocking Serge Gakpe and Pavoletti before palming the ball off the line when a shot ricocheted dangerously in front of goal.