Napoli needed two late goals to overcome Sampdoria in Serie A, as VAR took centre stage in the visitors' 4-2 win at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Monday night.


The away side dominated the majority of the match, but were susceptible to the quality of Manolo Gabbiadini and Fabio Quagliarella in the Sampdoria strike force, resulting in a high-octane clash that will have left the neutrals very happy.

Eljif Elmas

​​Napoli took the lead after just three minutes, as Arkadiusz Milik brilliantly headed beyond Emil Audero and into the bottom corner. The cross from Piotr Zielinski was something to behold too, as the Polish midfielder placed the ball perfectly onto his international compatriot's head.


Elif Elmas then doubled the away side's lead just 12 minutes later, despite a bit of pressure from Sampdoria. Giovanni Di Lorenzo flicked a Jose Callejon corner to the back post, and the midfielder tapped the ball into an empty net.


The home side then found a route back into the match midway through the first half. Veteran striker Quagliarella found space on the edge of the penalty area and fired a volley towards the bottom corner of the Napoli goal - a strike which Alex Meret could do nothing about.


Gabbiadini missed a golden opportunity to bring Sampdoria level, as the ball fell to the Italian just six yards out after a scramble inside the box, but he bizarrely hit the post and the danger was cleared.

UC Sampdoria v SSC Napoli - Serie A

Shortly after the restart, the home side thought that they had their equaliser. A towering header at the back post from Gabbiadini set up Gaston Ramirez for an overhead kick, which he executed to perfection, but a handball in the build-up was spotted by VAR and the goal was disallowed.


Sampdoria did get an equaliser, however. After consultation with VAR, referee Federico La Penna awarded a penalty to the home side, as Kostas Manolas brought down Quagliarella and Gabbiadini dispatched.


Not to be deterred by the officiating drama, the away side fought their way back into the lead in the final ten minutes. Diego Demme capitalised on Dries Mertens' deflected shot, as he stroked the ball into an empty net. 

Diego Demme,Dries Mertens

Mertens then put the game beyond Sampdoria to make it 4-2, as Audero cleared the ball straight to his feet, and he swept the ball over the defence and beyond the helpless keeper to put the game beyond doubt.


The dramatic result moves Napoli into ninth, while Gennaro Gattuso's side next face relegation battlers Lecce in Serie A on 9 February.