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Crucial Genoa Derby Clash With Sampdoria Heightened By Emotion Of Bridge Tragedy

Genoa Are Playing Sampdoria At The Marassi On Sunday Night
Genoa Are Playing Sampdoria At The Marassi On Sunday Night

The derby fixture between Genoa and Sampdoria needs little build-up, a fascinating encounter between cross-city rivals which is always a hotly contested and passionate affair. Each set of supporters has plenty to goad each other over, with Genoa’s status as Italy’s oldest club always a factor in taunting their Derby della Lanterna rival – a reference to the city’s famous lighthouse constructed in 1543 – especially as Samp are one of the Italian top flight’s youngest club.

While Englishmen founded Genoa Cricket and Football Club in 1893, Sampdoria were founded via the merger of local sides Sampierdarenese and Andrea Doria as recently as 1946. The latter side’s status as new kids on the block has had no bearing on recent results between the two however, as Genoa have lost each of the last five home editions of the derby, failing to get on the scoresheet in three of those games. 

Two Sides United in Grief

When 43 people died following the Ponte Morandi bridge collapse back in August, the attention of the world’s media was focussed on Genoa. Supporters of city’s two football clubs were of course all affected by the terrible tragedy, and both teams saw their opening Serie A fixtures postponed in light of the disaster.

This is very much a city still in mourning, with the collapse also having far-reaching effects on the local economy and still causing traffic chaos. “I hope the derby can produce a smile on the faces of all of Genoa’s citizens,” Sampdoria President Massimo Ferrero told the press ahead of the first fixture between the two since the disaster. 

It is a derby famed for stunning choreography and pyrotechnics put together by each set of rival supporters, yet this time it would not be a surprise to see some kind of joint effort in reference to the collapse, a reflection of the pain suffered in one way or another by all those who reside there.

Two Bosses in Trouble

Any reciprocal respect will end when the referee’s whistle indicates the start of play on Sunday evening. This match sees both bosses fighting to keep their jobs, Genoa’s Ivan Juric overseeing a side winless in six matches, while the highly-regarded Marco Giampaolo is going through a rough patch at Sampdoria. 

A positive start to the campaign – including a 3-0 victory over Napoli on September 2nd – made it seem like it was simply business as usual for the Blucerchiati, however recent results have seen them slide to only one point above struggling neighbours Genoa, the latter sitting down in 14th. 

Samp started their dismal run with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Sassuolo on October 22nd, followed by a 3-2 loss to AC Milan, a shock 4-1 defeat at home to Torino and a repeat of that same scoreline away at AS Roma in the last match before the international break. 

“We lost two games with too many goals conceded, and that makes losing even harder,” Giampaolo admitted to Sky Italia.“Before we were more solid, but the last two defeats to Torino and Roma put everything into question, particularly the self esteem of my lads. We need to have the strength to continue, to do the things we know how to do. In that sense the derby could be ideal.”

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