Juventus’s bid to finally kickstart their season was kept in check by Sampdoria in six-goal thriller Sunday that prompted questions about both sides’ title winning capacities.
Claudio Marchisio, Simone Pepe and Fabio Quagliarella scored for the hosts while a brace from Nicola Pozzi and one from Antonio Cassano earned Sampdoria a point that keeps them amongst the leaders.
Juve have yet to win this season and are hovering just above the drop zone.
In a pulsating end-to-end contest neither side showed the kind of solidity necessary to fight for the scudetto but there was more than enough evidence that they will entertain fans — both theirs and their opponents’ — this season.
Juventus had a couple of early half chances but it was Sampdoria who had the clearer first half opportunities.
Alessandro Del Piero made space for himself on the edge of the box but his shot was delfected behind while Milos Krasic got free at the back post only to see his header drift harmlessly across the face of the goal.
On 21 minutes Felipe Melo slipped in midfield with the ball bouncing off Angelo Palombo and sending Pozzi through one-on-one with Marco Storari who stood up strong and tipped the forward’s shot around the post.
On 35 minutes Cassano cut in from the left and got behind the defence with only Storari in front of him but under pressure from the back-tracking Marco Motta he poked his effort straight at the goalkeeper.
But a minute later Samp deservedly took the lead as Cassano sent a ball across the box from the left and Pozzi arrived on the edge of the area to drill home a crisp low shot.
Juve were quick to hit back as Del Piero sent a free-kick just past the post.
And two minutes before the break they were level as Del Piero stood the ball up at the back post where Krasic headed it back into the danger area and Marchisio arrived to crash home a shot with the outside of his right boot.
Just five minutes after the restart the turnaround was complete as Krasic crossed from the right and Daniele Gastaldello stuck out a boot but diverted the ball towards goal with Gianluca Curci making a fine one handed-save, only for Pepe to then tap home from barely a yard out, although TV replays suggested Quagliarella got a touch first which would have meant Pepe was offside.
Juve were threatening to run away with this as Krasic beat his man on the right and outstripped the defence but Curci came out to make a smothering save before Quagliarella lobbed the rebound over.
On 64 minutes, Samp fashioned a well-worked goal as Palombo chipped over the defence for Cassano to finish first time from an angle.
However, just three minutes later, Juve were ahead again as Pepe’s shot beat Curci at his near post only to rebound off the upright and fall to Quagliarella to tap home from inside the six-yard box, although again he appeared offside.
And yet Samp hit back again as substitute Guido Marilungo crossed for Pozzi to head home his second from six yards as Juve’s defence stood ball-watching.
Juve piled on the pressure and three times in a minute could have snatched the winner.
Quagliarella was millimetres away from turning Del Piero’s cross into an empty net, Curci then saved Iaquinta’s close range effort before Felipe Melo’s header went an inch past the upright.
Chievo are the unlikely early pace-setters as they won 3-1 away to Genoa despite going a goal down.
On Saturday AC Milan were stunned 2-0 at Cesena on Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho’s debuts while 10-man AS Roma were thrashed 5-1 at Cagliari.
Champions Inter Milan got their first win of the season, 2-1 at home to Udinese.
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