Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first-half strike was the difference as Roma narrowly came 1-0 victors against a resilient Sampdoria side, extending their unbeaten run to 10 games as they continued their late push for a European spot.
Sampdoria would have to beat a side sitting eighth or higher in the Serie A for the first time this season if they were to extend their lead further away from the relegation zone. Roma came into this one on a nine-game unbeaten run and an emphatic 3-0 victory over rivals Lazio. The match started at a terrific pace with chances falling for both sides as Morten Thorsby and Roger Ibañez each put their chances narrowly over the bar. Roma were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after Omar Colley appeared to handle the ball inside the area, but referee Gianluca Manganiello saw nothing doing. Francesco Caputo came close to taking his goal tally to double digits for the season, forcing Rui Patrício into a smart save 20 minutes in.
Roma took the lead with 27 minutes on the clock when Henrikh Mkhitaryan reacted quickest in a goalmouth scramble to poke the ball into the back of the net, scoring his fourth goal of the season. Tammy Abraham uncharacteristically spurned a glorious chance shortly after, latching onto a poor back pass and rounding the keeper only to put his effort wide, leaving the score at 1-0 heading in at HT. The second half was played at a far slower pace with Roma seemingly content to sit on their narrow lead, and Sampdoria struggling to create anything in the final third. Caputo remained the hosts’ only real threat, often creating space for himself and testing Patrício.
The hosts undoubtedly grew into the game as the second half progressed, having three attempts on goal compared to Roma’s one. However, as is typical of any José Mourinho side, Roma dug in to close out the game 1-0. The three points see the ‘Giallorossi’ leapfrog Lazio into fifth place in Serie A. Meanwhile, Sampdoria remain in 16th, seven points above the relegation zone.