Sampdoria 2-2 Roma: Pazzini Illuminating Marassi, Julio Baptista Turning Its Lights Off (Serie A Matchday 28)

Sampdoria's forward Antonio Cassano, left, tussles with AS Roma's midfielder Marco Motta during a Serie A soccer match between Sampdoria and AS Roma at the Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy, Sunday, March 15, 2009. (AP Photo)

As far as entertainment goes, today’s Sampdoria vs. Roma had all the ingredients required of a soccer match: goals, cards (of various colours), and… oh yes, this is Serie A after all, reffing mistakes. For a Sunday morning, it certainly beats waking up to watch Chelsea vs. Manchester City I think… (bitter? who me?).

But in all seriousness, I got up early today primarily because I was curious on just how Spalletti would handle his injury crisis (as a Juve fan I can relate, you see…) and I have to say the Giallorossi can be pretty satisfied with their final 2-2 result, especially given the turn this game had taken after Motta’s red card. Can we talk about the “post-elimination aftershock” I was mentioning in Juve-Bologna? Partially. A draw certainly isn’t the best way to rebound from an Champions League elimination. It must also be said Roma’s roster featured nearly 1/3 of Primaveras.

Discussions aside, the match was also (very surprisingly) a game of redemption for Julio Baptista (who had been so terrible mid-week) and (less surprisingly) one of confirmation for Giampaolo Pazzini, whose entente with Cassano is screaming more and more of perfection.

Serie A 2008-09 - Sampdoria vs. Roma

Serie A 2008-09 - Day 28 - Sampdoria 2-2 Roma

The match didn’t take long to get ignited. Just two minutes in, Marius Stankevicius had found the outside of the post with a mid-range effort from the right side, to which Roma replied in the best possible way on the other end: with a goal. Receiving a Tonetto cross from the left wing, Julio Baptista (who had already authored a double in his first encounter with Samp this season) slid to deflect the ball past Castellazzi. 1-0 Roma with just 6 minutes on the clock.

Sampdoria really took offense to the visitors’ first goal, beginning to assault the Roma net through repeated incursions of Cassano (absolutely lethal with his wing-to-center penetrations) and Pazzini. It was no coincidence the equalizing goal came precisely from a combination of these two, the former crossing the ball for the latter, who powered his header past Doni from short-range. 1-1.

Sampdoria's Giampaolo Pazzini (R) scores agianst Roma during their series A football match at the Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genova on March 15, 2009. (AFP/Getty Images)

But the Blucerchiati didn’t stop there. Noticing the Roma backline was lagging behind, Sampdoria continued their harassment work and Mazzarri, who was forced to replace the injured Stankevicius with Marco Padalino, really couldn’t contain his joy when his new substitute created goal nº2 for his team: diagonal shot parried by Doni, straight onto the path of Pazzini, and 2-1 Sampdoria at the break.

Roma tried to react in the second half, augmenting their presence around Castellazzi’s box and coming very close to the equalizer through Menez (one-one-one chance closed down by the keeper) and Motta (long-range volley just narrowly wide). The Roma center-back was however very naive at obtaining his second yellow card of the game (needless hold on Pieri’s shirt close to the Samp box) and leaving his team with 10 men. It seemed the Giallorossi’s fate in the game was sealed…

AS Roma's midfielder Julio Baptista, center, scores from a penalty kick past Sampdoria's goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi during a Serie A soccer match between Sampdoria and AS Roma at the Ferraris stadium in Genoa, Italy, Sunday, March 15, 2009. (AP Photo)

Not so. Assisted by good fortune (and perhaps Rosetti’s eyesight problems), Roma obtained a penalty-kick in the 67th, when Tonetto was upended by Padalino inside the Sampdoria box. The referee pointed to the spot, and booked… Lucchini (for a hold, Rosetti claims, on Panucci… incomprehensible based on replay evidence). Julio Baptista transformed from 12 yards, re-establishing the score parity. 2-2.

With about 20 minutes to go, Sampdoria rushed their troops forward to get the win. Without much success, because despite their hole on the right side the Roma defense held tight, only allowing a slip-up once to Pazzini, whose short-range header was miraculously kept out by Doni. The match ended 2-2.

(LEFT) Roma's brazilian Baptista (C19) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against Sampdoria during their serie A football match at Luigi Ferraris stadium in Genova on March 15, 2009. (AFP/Getty Images)


 U.C. Sampdoria
[Match Highlights]
A.S. Roma
GOALSCORERS: 7’, 70’ J.Baptista (R), 25’, 43’ Pazzini (S).
SAMPDORIA (3-5-2): Castellazzi – Campagnaro, Lucchini, Raggi – Stankevicius (29′ Ma.Padalino), Sammarco, Palombo, Franceschini (82’ Bellucci), Pieri – Pazzini, Cassano. (bench: Mirante, Ferri, Da Costa, Dessena, Ziegler). Coach: Mazzarri.
ROMA (3-4-2-1): Doni – Diamoutene, Panucci, Riise – Motta, Brighi, D.Pizarro, Tonetto – J.Baptista, Menez (79’ Crescenzi) – Vucinic (91’ Montella). (bench: Artur, Loria, Brosco, Filipe, D’Alessandro). Coach: Spalletti.


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Posted in Milan, Roma, Sampdoria, Serie A |

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