There’s no side that Fabio Quagliarella enjoys facing more than SPAL and the veteran was on hand from the fourth minute as Sampdoria picked up a 2-1 win at the Stadio Paolo Mazza, condemning SPAL yet another winless day in Ferrara.
Ahead of kick-off, Quagliarella averaged a goal or assist every 53 minutes against SPAL – which was his best of any side he has faced – and it was clear that he fancied himself against the Biancazzurri from early on. He was right to, as well, as he ended Sunday’s meeting with four goals and two assists in just 280 minutes against the Ferrara side.
Quagliarella rarely does basic goals, and he drew level with Cristiano Ronaldo’s 18 Serie A strikes for the season with a textbook scissor-kick from down low, which flew into ex-Samp goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano’s net.
It was two just seven minutes later and, unsurprisingly, it was the 36-year-old again as he moved clear as Italy’s top goalscorer with his 19th of the season. This time it was Karol Linetty’s cross which picked him out and, climbing high in the box, he headed easily out of Viviano’s reach.
His thirst wasn’t quenched just yet though and his hat-trick almost came courtesy of an audacious long-range effort that bounced back off the post.
Mohamed Fares should have pulled one back for Gli Spallini but he made a mess of an easy volley at the back post, sending his shot down into the ground and some way off target.
Sergio Floccari appeared to have pulled a goal back for the hosts but after a lengthy VAR review, referee Fabrizio Pasqua ruled the goal out. The Curva Ovest, already irritated, reacted in rage with fans flocking out of the stand with almost 30 minutes still to play.
Jasmin Kurtic did pull one back for SPAL in stoppage time by dispatching an excellently curling free-kick but it was too late to make much of a difference for Leonardo Semplici’s side as their wait for a win at home grew to 11 games.
Dennis Praet was in complete control of the game, helped by Ronaldo Viera and Karol Linetty, as the Blucerchiati never looked over troubled by their hosts, with little in the form of a battle unfolding in mdifield for the entirety of the first half.
Despite back-to-back away defeats, there was no nervousness from Marco Giampaolo’s side and Emil Audero – kitted out in Samp’s home strip – was playing like a twelfth outfield player at times with him, Omar Colley and Christian Andersen playing around with SPAL within six yards of their own goal on more than one occasion.
In second gear for the second half, Samp still looked troubling whenever they came forward and took advantage of the home fans going into a silent protest by knocking the ball around in as relaxed a manner as they will in a competitive match.