Conor Clancy Date: 5th May 2019 at 4:54pm
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STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (PARMA) – “The lighthouse that illuminates the way and shines in glory, the unique essence of U.C. Sampdoria,” read a Curva Nord banner ahead of kick-off as Parma welcomed their Blucerchiati cousins to the Stadio Ennio Tardini. On the pitch, that leading light proved to be capocannoniere Fabio Quagliarella but his double couldn’t clinch the points as six goals and the points were shared.

There was little riding on the result and the weather kept many away, but those who turned up were there primarily to honour and celebrate 30 years of friendship between both sets of fans and were rewarded for turning up as the sides played out an action-packed affair.

Parma’s ultras romanticised their guests, while Samp’s travelling support expressed appreciation for the €10 tickets, labelling the Crociati as “an example for everyone” to follow.

Sampdoria’s players seemingly shared the gratitude of their fans and returned the charitability shown by their hosts in the opening minutes. Gervinho was allowed to run into the six-yard box and reach the byline unchallenged, from where he rolled the ball across goal to give Marcello Gazzola a tap-in from under the crossbar.

Fabio Quagliarella tends to be the scorer of Samp’s goals but he looked to turn provider by picking out Dennis Praet at the back post for a volley but the midfielder’s effort was sliced and went over Luigi Sepe’s crossbar.

Sepe was then called into action to deny Jakub Jankto and then Praet. A double save was made slightly troubling by the soaking conditions but he was able to react quickly enough to gather after his initially parried stop.

Federico Dimarco conceded a penalty as the ball struck his arm from close range, though it was only given after Michael Fabbri checked replays. Quagliarella, who had already scored two penalties here with Italy in March, made it a three as he fired down the middle.

The slippery surface played its part in Sampdoria taking the lead. Jankto got in on the left and his low shot could only be palmed right into the path of Gregoire Defrel, allowing the No.92 to tap into a near-open goal.

Sepe redeemed himself shortly after by keeping the Crociati in it. Quagliarella looked destined to find the net from close range with the goal at his mercy, but Sepe threw himself across to deny the forward his 25th of the season, then recovering to turn the follow-up effort behind as well.

Emil Audero was to thank as Samp held onto their lead shortly before the hour mark. Gazzola slipped a neat ball into the path of Fabio Ceravolo who looked to round the Doria ‘keeper but Audero did excellently to get down and intercept at the last second.

Quagliarella did get his 25th as Praet turned assist maker. Juraj Kucka fell victim to the surface water as he lost his footing in possession, allowing Praet to take the ball to the edge of the area and slip the No.27 through, from where he left Sepe helplessly rooted to the spot and tucked a finish in at the near post.

Luca Siligardi arrived in place of Ceravolo and within what can’t have been any more than 10 seconds he won a penalty. Kucka stepped up and made amends for his earlier error by rifling the ball into the roof of Audero’s goal.

Bruno Alves is always key for Parma and so it proved again as they remarkably levelled with a second goal in three minutes. The Crociati’s captain found the ball in a left-wing position and whipped a dangerous cross into the box that was headed goalward and saved well by Audero but Alessandro Bastoni was on-hand to smash in the rebound.

Gianluca Caprari had a big chance to restore Samp’s lead in the final ten minutes but he dragged his shot narrowly wide of the bottom corner.

Omar Colley was sent off for a second yellow card late on for an elbow on Bruno Alves. The numbers evened up when Kucka followed Colley down the tunnel as he too saw red for a second booking in the 90th minute.

Eternal Quagliarella won’t stop

At 36-years old, Sampdoria’s striker continues to defy all logic this season.

Now with 25 goals for the season, Quagliarella is leading the way as Serie A’s deadliest marksman, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Duvan Zapata and Krzysztof Piatek left helplessly chasing him in the race to be crowned capocannoniere.

He hadn’t scored in seven Serie A matches at the Tardini, but his brace for Italy in March proved the perfect warm-up as he scored another two today.

Big Bruno key again

It’s usually his defensive efforts that help the Crociati, but if Bruno Alves’ late equaliser against AC Milan proved his technical ability, then his cross for today’s leveller did the very same.

In far from ideal conditions, the giant centre back excellently crossed on the turn from the left wing, putting in a cross that could only have ended in a goal.

The Portuguese’s importance is proven on a weekly basis, and he’s a serious contender for a spot in the Serie A team of the season.