The Derby della Laterna may not often offer much in the way of quality football, but it's almost always extremely passionate. Passion wasn't lacking Sunday night either -- at least not from Genoa. Sampdoria failed to do anything to let us know they were in this match, especially in the second half, playing pointless possession football without creating anything substantial in front of goal.
Threatening clouds hung in the sky over the Marassi, echoing those hanging over both sides. Genoa had yet to find a point, while Sampdoria could only boast of a draw against Bologna. Both Delio Rossi and Fabio Liverani, his former player at Lazio and now coach of Doria's arch-rivals Genoa, opted for a 3-5-2 formation. Liverani, however, made five changes to the side that had lost 5-2 to Fiorentina in the last round.
Liverani's plan was to close the opponent down and wait for a chance to counterattack. He was more then happy to let Samp have the ball even before the grifone took an early lead. In the 9th minute, Davide Biondini crossed the ball from the right, setting up Luca Antonini for a fantastic volley. The rossoblu ran to Liverani, demonstrating support for their coach whose job was on the line after taking zero points from first two games of the season.
Chosing Biondini over Juraj Kucka proved a smart move by Liverani. Biondini and Matuzalem tried, and mostly succeeded, in making Nenad Krstičić and Pedro Obiang work hard to find space, expending most of their energy getting through the aggressive Genoa midfield. Obiang showed glimpses of his enormous talent, but saw little support from his Sampdoria teammates, who apparently hadn't gotten the memo that this was a derby match.
The second half started off in a similar manner, with Samporia winning possession then finding themselves unable to do anything with that possession.Instead it was Genoa that capitalized on their chances, scoring their second with only their third shot of the match. The goal again came from the right, with Sime Vrsaljko setting up Emmanuele Calaio, for his first Genoa goal.
As the match went on, 'Doria continued to attack, but rarely put Genoa under any real pressure. A quick glance at the statistics might give the impression that Samp dominated the match, having had more of the possession and more shots on goal. However, Genoa kept the Samp attackers outside the area, limiting them to speculative shots that rarely came close to their target.
In the 66th minute, After a great one-two between Biondini and Alberto Gilardino, Angelo Palombo fouled the latter in what shall now be known in Genoa as the "Francesco Lodi zone." Vincent Gallo's lookalike reminded us that he remains among the best free kick takers in Europe, scoring a beautiful goal to make Genoa's win a certainty.
After the third goal, Genoa was in complete control of the game. Rossi's team had practically given up and his changes made little difference. Despite being one of the most experienced coaches in league and generally a good tactician, Rossi showed he was ill-prepared, and didn't react on time to what was happening on the field. None of his substitutions influenced the game. Perhaps more importantly for a derby match, his players didn't appear motivated, especially after the break.
Genoa, on the other hand, were extremely efficient, neutralizing Sampdoria's attacks and effectively using their own chances. After a shaky start to this season, it will be interesting to see if this young coach and his team can build on the derby victory and have a less turbulent season than the last.
Sampdoria: Da Costa, Gastaldello, Palombo, Costa, De Silvestri, Obiang, Krsticic, Bjarnason (Soriano 46'), Regini (Sansone 67'), Eder (Pozzi 76'), Gabbiadini
Genoa: Perin, Gamberini (De Maio 69'), Portanova, Manfredini, Vrsaljko, Biondini, Lodi, Matuzalem ( Cofie 65'), Antonini (Santana 72'), Calaiò, Gilardino
Goals: Antonini (9'), Callaio (49'), Lodi (66')