A last minute equaliser dashed Sampdoria's hopes of an away win at the Philipsstadion in the opening match of Group A of the Europa League. Both teams missed out on a place in the Champions League and this evening begun their campaign for Europe's lesser trophy in earnest.
It was the home side that started the brightest with Engelaar forcing a good save from Curci in the Samp goal. It was the Blucerchiati who got the first goal though and against the run of play as Cacciatore got the better of the PSV defence in order to win a header from Mannini's cross in the 25th minute.
Once PSV got over the shock of going a goal down they created some real possibilities of an equaliser before half-time but just couldn't seem to finish any of them. Afellay squandered the best of them just before the half-time whistle when Semioli got back in time to make a block.
The second half was a case of plus de même as Curci made save after save in the Sampdoria goal; most notbaly from berg, Afellay and Lens to name but three. The Blucerchiati looked like they were going to be heading home to Genoa with all three points but were denied in the final stages of the game by Dzsudzsák who picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area and drilled it home to send the home fans into rapturous celebrations.
It would be very easy here to conclude that PSV deserved an equaliser for their efforts and that they were justified in getting that last minute goal but I feel that this doesn't give the away side enough credit for their impressive defensive display. The Blucerchiati knew they were going to struggle to get anything out of the game and so their 25th minute goal was mana from heaven. For much of the rest of the game, Sampdoria offered a master-class in defensive play and stopped a number of PSV chances from developing into real, clear-cut goal opportunities. OK so they were reliant on Curci in goal to save their skin a few times but this team with nine of the starting eleven being Italian proved themselves to be the quintessential Italian outfit from a tactical point of view and were a delight to watch.