Despite the fact that the match was over, no one wanted to go home, as if leaving this location meant giving up on him. To remain meant to hang on a little longer. At the Marassi, Sampdoria supporters began to sing once more. You are superior to Pelé, Luca Vialli, Luca Vialli, Luca Vialli alé alé, we adore you and love you.
There was no ill will toward the Brazilian and no disrespect for the player whose death occurred at the end of December. This has been their tribute to Vialli for decades, ever since he led Sampdoria to unprecedented success when he was just twenty years old, winning a Scudetto, three Coppa Italia titles, and the Cup Winners’ Cup.
For a team that scored just six goals in 15 games and finished second-from-bottom in Serie A in 2022, such glory seems a very long way off. They were and are the only division team without a double-digit score.
A 2-1 victory over Sassuolo to start the new year stoked optimism, but Napoli on Sunday quickly dampened it. Victor Osimhen converted Mario Rui’s cross to give them the lead in the 19th minute, and not even Emil Audero’s early save of a Matteo Politano penalty could stop them. The game was effectively over when Tomás Rincón was sent off before the halftime break. Eljif Elmas’s second spot kick in the 82nd minute gave Napoli an additional advantage, but they never appeared to concede.For Samp, avoiding relegation won’t be easy. Before Manolo Gabbiadini’s goal against Sassuolo, they had gone 397 minutes without scoring, and the striking overhead kick almost seemed to show how hard they were trying. You probably won’t do it very often if the only way you can put the ball in the net is through individual inspiration.
They have already been active during this transfer window, bringing in Empoli loanee Sam Lammers, Napoli right back Alessandro Zanoli, and Udinese center back Bram Nuytinck to bolster the attack. The latter, in particular, has performed admirably in both of his appearances thus far; however, the additions are tempered by the departures. In a deal that resulted in the departure of starting defender Bartosz Bereszynski, Zanoli served as a makeweight. In a similar vein, Lammers joined Sampdoria in exchange for Francesco Caputo, who led the team in scoring last season.
Sports inquests, on the other hand, did not take place on Sunday. Dejan Stankovic, Sampdoria manager, stood with the sons of Sinisa Mihajlovic before the game to honor their father, who died last month after spending four seasons at the Marassi. Players warmed up in the Italian’s previous No. 9 shirt as they laid wreaths beneath the southern stand.
Fans created individual choreographies for each club icon. The message addressed to Mihajlovic read, “Thanks Sinisa… An example to football, the history of this shirt.” The ode to Vialli read: Champion, Legend, and Bomber: We know that nothing is impossible because of you.
During a weekend of dramatic late goals, it was up to other teams to prove that final point. Luca Caldirola had equalized for Monza in the 92nd minute against Inter, whose academy he grew up in, on Saturday night. The Nerazzurri were furious, pointing to the incorrect and premature whistle that prevented them from taking a 3-1 lead in the 80th minute. However, their performance had been disappointing so soon after their win over Napoli the week before.
After leading 2-0 in the 83rd minute, Lazio gave up a second half lead for the second time in five days and managed to draw 2-2 with Empoli. Opta claimed that it marked the first time since 1943 that they had surrendered a two-goal lead within the final ten minutes of a Serie A match. The manager felt like he was cursed after the midweek defeat to Lecce. According to Maurizio Sarri, “it would fall on Formello [the town where Lazio have their training facility] if a satellite fell from the sky right now.”
The fact that his team’s supporters were forced to watch Roma perform the reverse trick on Sunday night was even worse. In the 87th minute, the Giallorossi trailed 2-0 after being terrible for most of their game against Milan. However, a crushing header from Roger Ibaez, who was previously to blame for both of his team’s goals, put them back in contention. In the final minute, a close-range volley by Tammy Abraham secured a draw.
After a frustrating start to the campaign, the Englishman has had a good start to 2023. On Wednesday, when his team played Bologna, Abraham came on as a substitute and made a crucial header off the line as his team held on to a 1-0 lead. On Sunday at the San Siro, he made his debut and quickly reacted to Ciprian Tatarusanu’s parry from a Nemanja Matic header, earning the trust of his manager.
Napoli’s re-extension of their lead at the top, just days after losing to Inter, was made possible by draws for both Milan clubs. Juventus, the only team in the pack to win this weekend, moved up to joint-second place with a 1-0 victory over Udinese, their eighth consecutive win and clean sheet.
Similar to Milan, the Bianconeri are currently seven points behind the leaders, but they will have a chance to reopen the title race when they play Napoli on Friday. Due to Federico Chiesa returning from injury and providing the assist for Danilo’s winner on Sunday, the timing seems favorable for Juve.
In honor of Vialli and the awards he had won while wearing a black-and-white shirt, their supporters sang songs as well. When they defeated Ajax in the Champions League final in 1996, he was the player who wore the captain’s armband.
Cremonese, Vialli’s first team, will face Verona on Monday in a special shirt with his picture on the left sleeve. These will then be sold at auction to raise funds for the foundation he established with Massimo Mauro to support research into better treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients.
The Cremonese statement that made the announcement of the initiative read, “Luca will be present in our hearts and on our shirts.” And without a doubt in the voices of those who support him, not least because he has always thought of himself as one.