Sampdoria have seen the light after winning the Derby della Lanterna 3-1, but plunge Genoa to the foot of the table with a sixth straight loss. It is also their first derby win since April 2010.
This 105th Derby della Lanterna was more desperate than ever, as both Coaches were hanging by a thread. Ciro Ferrara had run out of chances after seven consecutive Sampdoria defeats, while Gigi Del Neri had lost all four of his games at the helm since replacing Gigi De Canio and was here facing his former club.
The Blucerchiati missed Maxi Lopez, Nicola Pozzi and Gaetano Berardi, while Eder failed a late fitness test too, so 19-year-old Mauro Icardi started in attack. Genoa had to do without Cristobal Jorquera, Damiano Ferronetti and Anselmo, but had Marco Borriello back in the squad after a sprained ankle.
Genoa had won five of the previous six derbies, most notably in May 2011 when a last-gasp victory all but sent Sampdoria down to Serie B. Banners in the stands were heavily critical of both clubs after fans staged protests this week.
Sergio Romero smothered at Borriello’s feet, then Ciro Immobile went on the counter-attack to test the goalkeeper, as did Juraj Kucka with an audacious lob from midfield. Borriello managed to turn Jonathan Rossini but the shot was too weak at the near post to trouble Romero.
It was Sampdoria who broke through at the first attempt, as Enzo Maresca’s strike from a corner was charged down, but deflected into the path of Andrea Poli to redirect it into the net from 12 yards. The derby was a good way to break his Serie A duck.
The tension escalated with a series of bookings for both sides. Samp went close to a second when Icardi ran on to a long ball and managed to get round Sebastien Frey, but Andreas Granqvist did enough to narrow the angle and he was only able to hit the side-netting of an empty net.
Genoa were terribly unlucky for the second goal. Frey had managed to save Icardi’s angled drive at the near post, but the follow-up fell on to Cesare Bovo’s shin and he could not avoid bundling it over the line from six yards.
Icardi had another opportunity, but was too isolated and fired wide from the Krsticic assist. In first half stoppages Icardi sprung the offside trap down the left and was one-on-one with Frey, but the goalkeeper managed to control the shot at the second attempt.
Gianni Munari should've made it 3-0 when again the offside trap was a disaster, but he hesitated and Frey timed his intervention perfectly to pluck the ball off his feet.
Del Neri made a double substitution for the second half, introducing Juan Manuel Vargas and Andrea Bertolacci for Daniel Tozser and Bovo.
Within 100 seconds of being on the field, Vargas had created a good chance for Bosko Jankovic that was charged down in the box. Moments later, Immobile fired into Romero’s arms on Bertolacci’s through ball.
Immobile whipped a cross into the centre where Borriello volleyed at Romero from six yards. Kucka was booked for a mistimed tackle on Maresca, while Jankovic’s fierce free kick whistled just wide of the far post.
Kucka arrived at the back stick to nod over the bar as Genoa were pouring forward. There was tension when Krsticic was taking a little too long to complete his substitution and was shoved by a frustrated Immobile.
The goal was in the air and it arrived on 73 minutes when a corner came out to Vargas and he twice had shots charged down, but Immobile managed to turn in eventually.
Pedro Obiang went on the counter from a Genoa corner, but Kucka performed a crucial tackle in midfield. It was almost 2-2 when Romero’s poor clearance fell to Vargas, but the volley was wide with his weaker foot.
Another Vargas shot was charged down and Mario Sampirisi blocked another Samp counter, but this time with a blatant foul and yellow card.
Genoa were pouring forward and left themselves open to the counter, which Icardi finally made the most of. Fernando Tissone threaded through a diagonal ball and the 19-year-old kept his cool to slide on to the finish, as Frey could not keep it out. The derby was a fine way for Icardi to mark his first Serie A start and goal.