Fabio Quagliarella inspired Sampdoria to a 3-2 comeback win over Alessandria, including a spectacular back-heel flick goal and another that was disallowed, to set up the Coppa Italia tie with Torino.

There was a surprise start at Marassi, as Alessandria won it back in midfield and Riccardo Chiarello unleashed a scorching strike that Emil Audero evidently didn’t see clearly behind defensive bodies, because it swerved past his fingertips into the far bottom corner.

Moments later, it really should’ve been 2-0, but Chiarello side-footed it inches wide of the upright.

Quagliarella had the ball in the net with a truly spectacular aerial back-heel flick over the goalkeeper, but it was narrowly offside.

Jakub Jankto’s looping effort then bounced off the crossbar from a Quagliarella assist, but evidently the earlier offside effort was bugging him, because Quagliarella did score a flying back-heel flick at the near post on a corner to equalise.

However, Andrea Arrighini skinned Jeison Murillo and then went down under the soft Bartosz Bereszynski challenge for an Alessandria penalty, converted by Simone Corazza.

Straight after the restart, a defensive error let the Quagliarella ball through and Manolo Gabbiadini beat the on-rushing goalkeeper with a delicate finish.

The turnaround was completed by a Morten Thorsby free header on Antonio Candreva’s cross from the right.

Francesco Orlando’s scorcher was fingertipped over the bar by Audero, with Mikkel Damsgaard suffering the same fate at the other end, but Orlando missed a huge chance one-on-one on the counter.

Murillo threw himself in the way of another big opportunity to deny Corazza and Alessandria ended the game with 10 men, Simone Benedetti receiving his second yellow card for a professional foul on Ernesto Torregrossa.

Nonetheless, Orlando pounced on a Julian Chabot error and was only denied an equaliser by a desperate Murillo block and Andrea Beghetto was inches away from tapping in at the back post.

Sampdoria 3-2 Alessandria

Chiarello 8 (A), Quagliarella 28 (S), Corazza pen 45 (A), Gabbiadini 47 (S), Thorsby 52 (S)

Sent off: Benedetti 84 (A)

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