Italy coach Roberto Mancini watched on as an exciting Wednesday evening unfolded at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, with Sampdoria and Fiorentina putting on a real show in a 1-1 draw, leaving them both locked on seven points after four Serie A games this season.
La Viola took an early lead through Giovanni Simeone but a second-half equaliser from Gianluca Caprari ensured the spoils were shared and both teams will argue that they could have ended the night with maximum points.
Before kick-off these two sides had scored 15 goals in their combined six games so it was no surprise that the game started in chaotic fashion. Giovanni Simeone should have scored twice inside five minutes, first missing a close-range header and then failing to make the most of an under-hit Joachim Andersen header back to Emil Audero; the goalkeeper was stranded but the Argentine failed to lift the ball over his head when he looked certain to score.
At the other end, Samp had their early chances too. Fabio Quagliarella similarly came close to capitalising on a defensive mix-up that caught everyone by surprise before another moment of panic in the box almost saw Gregoire Defrel have an opening.
Never one to let his misses get to him, Simeone did open the scoring before a quarter of an hour was played. Cristiano Biraghi whipped in a cross from the left and Cholito rose to head into the bottom corner sending the Marassi into a brief moment of silence until the Blucerchiati support voiced their disapproval at the ex-Genoa striker scoring on his return to his former home.
Quagliarella had a big chance to level midway through the half. Nicola Murru got into the final third and drove a low cross to the penalty spot where the forward had checked his run but he couldn’t get the desired contact on the ball and his effort flew wide across goal.
Marko Pjaca had a right-footed effort that he disappointingly scooped over as he tried to find the far corner. The Croatian was then frustrated by an excellent Laudero save as he looked odds-on to score from a Federico Chiesa cutback but for the outstretched arm of the Samp stopper. Chiesa himself had a sighter as he cut in from the left and drove a low shot just wide.
Caprari again came close before the break. This time he saw his free-kick crash off the crossbar after what appeared to be the slightest of touches off Bartlomiej Dragowski’s fingertips.
Finally, Caprari got his goal after much perseverance. Edgar Barreto fed him the ball on the left and he cut in onto his right foot and into some space before picking out the top corner with an excellent curling strike.
Samp then came to life and seemed to feed off the energy given to them by their supporters’ increased noise level and took over. With Quafliarella and Caprari’s exits though they lost some of their cutting edge and couldn’t find the winner that they were so desperate for.
Gaston Ramirez came closest with another free-kick and while his effort made the net ripple and sent half of the stadium to their feet, it was just the wrong side of the post and went behind.
Serie A’s entertainers
Now with 17 goals between them this season, Fiorentina and Sampdoria are going to be fun to watch as the campaign progresses if they keep playing this way.
Both look to get on the front foot and put their opponents under pressure. With La Viola hitting Chievo for six and Sampdoria netting three against Napoli and five at Frosinone, they have shown they can be lethal when they get in front of goal. The only surprise was that the goals weren’t coming every ten minutes and both Emil Audero and Bartlomiej Dragowski impressed at their respective ends.
At times, defending was no more than an afterthought as both pushed a majority of their players forward in search of goals and with the talent in each team’s frontline, these are two teams that should be sought out to watch every week.
A place for Barreto
Edgar Barreto looked lost and, to be blunt, like an inconvenience for Sampdoria at times last season but Marco Giampaolo has found a place for the Paraguayan midfielder in his team and, oddly, it’s not in the anchorman role many would have expected.
Albin Ekdal’s presence allowed him to start off in a more fluid central position and Barreto covered every blade of grass in the middle channel before shifting to a position further right in the second half and he was impressive in both.
He involved himself in attack and kept things moving nicely when he found himself with the ball, as well as hurrying back to help out defensively when his side were exposed, showing that at 34 he is still an adaptable player that could well have an important role to play for the Blucerchiati this season.