SERIE A

Napoli spoil Sampdoria comeback with late strikes

Diego Demme and Dries Mertens found the net in the final minutes to hand Napoli victory at Sampdoria in a game which wasn't without VAR controversy.

Napoli spoil Sampdoria comeback with late strikes
LUCA ZENNARO EFE

Napoli snatched two late goals to beat Sampdoria 2-4 on Monday in a Serie A match which featured two controversial VAR decisions and a spectacular effort by veteran Fabio Quagliarella for the hosts.

Napoli take charge

Diego Demme and Dries Mertens struck in the final 10 minutes as Napoli continued their mini-revival under fiery coach Gennaro Gattuso with a third successive win in all competitions. Napoli raced to a 0-2 lead after 16 minutes as Arkadiusz Milik headed in to finish off a slick passing move and Eljif Elmas turned the ball in at the far post from a corner for his first Serie A goal, the North Macedonian crying with emotion as he celebrated.

Sampdoria retaliate

Quagliarella pulled one back in style in the 26th minute as the ball was chipped forward to the edge of the area where the 37-year-old met it with a volley on the turn which flew into the bottom corner. Sampdoria thought they had levelled 10 minutes after half-time with another artistic effort when Gastón Ramírez turned the ball in with an overhead kick but, after a long VAR review, the goal was controversially chalked off for handball by Manolo Gabbiadini at the start of the move.

VAR, however, went in Sampdoria's favour when Kostas Manolas clipped Quagliarella's ankle and, after another review with the pitchside monitor, the referee gave a penalty and Gabbiadini converted in the 73rd minute Demme put Napoli back in front after 82 minutes and Mertens curled the fourth into an empty net from midfield after Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Audero charged out of his area and headed the ball straight to the Belgian. The result leaves Napoli mid-table on 30 points, six places and 10 points ahead of Sampdoria.