Sampdoria deepened the sense of gloom surrounding San Siro by recording a 1-0 victory over a beleaguered AC Milan side on the first Sunday of the new Serie A season.
The Rossoneri had more of the ball during a tepid first half but they did so very little with it that their visitors could not help but grow in confidence the longer the game wore on. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Andrea Costa headed the newly-promoted Blucerchiati into the lead on 59 minutes.
Milan tried to rally in the final half hour, but while Mario Yepes and Kevin-Prince Boateng struck the woodwork late on, Massimiliano Allegri's men slumped to a disappointing yet thoroughly deserved defeat after a horribly uninspiring performance.
The rows of empty seats at the Giuseppe Meazza underlined just how disillusioned and demoralized Rossoneri fans feel after a summer sale that saw their once mighty club forced to offload its two best players, Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to Paris Saint-Germain in order to balance the books.
Those supporters that did bother to show up must have been feeling like they should have stayed at home after a mind-numbingly boring first half in which a Milan side devoid of almost any creativity and dynamism in the middle of the park managed just one shot on target - and even that was an effort from Robinho which flew straight into the arms of Sergio Romero.
Indeed, despite playing just one up top, Sampdoria actually carried the greater attacking threat in the opening 45 minutes and actually went closest to scoring. Daniele Bonera appeared to have things under control when Marcelo Estigarribia aimed a diagonal ball in the direction of lone forward Eder.
However, the dozing Milan center half allowed himself to be dispossessed by the Blucerchiati striker, who then proceeded to cut inside towards the Milan goal. Eder, though, took too much out of the ball and allowed a relieved Bonera to get back to block the Brazilian’s goal-bound effort.
The home side looked ever so slightly more menacing at the start of the second half, with Robinho having two cracks on goal, albeit to no avail, while Giampaolo Pazzini’s entry into the fray in place of the grossly ineffective Stephan El Shaarawy did give the Milan fans something to sing about.
However, they were silenced just moments later when Samp left back Costa climbed highest to power home a corner from the right-hand side.
Milan very nearly equalized in almost identical fashion on 64 minutes but Romero sensationally managed to parry Mario Yepes’ towering header onto the post before the ball bounced back into the ever-so-grateful goalkeeper’s arms.
The Rossoneri continued to press and Boateng was unlucky to see his curling effort from outside the area strike the right post, while Mathieu Flamini was denied at point-blank range. However, Sampdoria survived to announce its return to Serie A with a win that was greeted with a sense of utter bewilderment by the home fans, who must now be envisaging a long season.
Follow GOAL.COM USA on Twitter
- Mario Yepes