The win against Verona gave Bologna a lot of confidence, and Bologna went into the game against Sampdoria with a desire to win it. A goal after just two minutes into the game set the tone for the match, as Bologna won the game deservedly.
From the last game against Verona Donadoni made three changes to the team, all of them defensive ones. Krafth was replaced by M’baye at right back, while Torosidis replaced Masina at left back. The last change was De Maio replacing Helander in central defence. Donadoni clearly did not like the defending against Verona. Just minutes before the game, another change was made by Donadoni though. Gonzalez injured himself in the warm-up, and Maietta entered in his place. A completely changed defence from the Verona game.
Bologna had to make a change in their line-up just minutes before kick-of, as Domenico Maietta replaced Giancarlo Gonzalez, who got injured during the warp-up. That meant that Bologna’s defence was completely changed from their last game. Sampdoria took control of possession from the get-go, but after two minutes Mattia Destro got played through on goal. Viviano made the save, but Simone Verdi was there to pounce on the rebound. A lot of back and forth after the goal, as neither team was able to take control of the game. Godfred Donsah tried to replicate his goal versus Verona after seven minutes, but his shot went wide. Bologna defence solid the first ten minutes, as Sampdoria were not able to play their way through it, instead losing patience and playing the long ball. Bologna were very fast going forward the first fifteen minutes, going from defence to attack in a matter of second several times. Bol corner after 23, with M’baye heading the ball into the net at the near post. Verdi got the assist. Samp struggled to create chances in the first half, as Mirante was yet to make a save going into the last fifteen minutes of the half. Bologna defended much better in this half than they did in their last game against Verona. They nullified Sampdoria, as they did not get much space in Bologna’s half. Vasilis Torosidis got a yellow card after a tackle on Barreto in the 43rd minute. Just minutes after he got a second yellow, as it seemed as though he pulled down Zapata who was through on goal. The replay proved that he didn’t pull on him though, and the decision to give him the second yellow was therefore very harsh. Before this season Serie A introduced VAR, and why it was not used in this instance is very strange.
Bologna opted to sub on Adam Masina because of Torosidis’ red card, with Destro being the unlucky substitute. Sampdoria with most of the ball early on in the half, and the referee continued to not be consistent, as a Sampdoria player pulled down Verdi without a yellow card being showed. Samp pressed for a goal the first ten minutes, as they won several corners in a row. Pressure really mounting on Bologna as they tried to hang on to their two-goal lead. Andrea Poli pulled to the ground just outside the box after 65 minutes, but the referee continued his personal vendetta against Bologna, and nothing was given. In the 69th minute, Donadoni opted for bringing on Okwonkwo for Verdi, who went of to great applause. Bologna on the counter after 73 minutes, and the sub Okwonkwo scored through on goal just minutes after coming on. Against the play of the 2nd half, but 3-0 none the less. The young Nigerian scored his second goal in two games, proving his worth to coach Roberto Donadoni. Verre hit the post after 77, rebound from Caprari deflected over. Taïder came on for Palacio after 79 minutes. Bologna with a huge chance on the counter after 80, but Donsah decided to shoot when having three teammates to whom he could pass the ball. Bologna very good at keeping the ball the last ten minutes, passing very well among themselves. Sampdoria had a couple of cross the last five minutes of the game, but nothing dangerous came out of them, and the game finished 3-0 to Bologna.
What we learned:
Second win in a row for Bologna, and this was perhaps the most impressive performance from Bologna this season. From defence to attack, everyone contributed in this game, and the victory was well-deserved even though it was Sampdoria that had most of the possession. The defensive performance was quite remarkable, but there was a huge difference between the two halves. The first half saw Bologna defend with a high pressure, not allowing Sampdoria any time on the ball, as the away-side struggled to find space in Bologna’s half. The second half was quite different, as Bologna struggled to cope with one less player on the field. Still, the team defended with passion, and Sampdoria did not create many clear-cut chances during that half. Okwonkwo’s goal sealed the deal for Bologna, as Sampdoria lost all hope at 3-0. The last ten minutes of the game were quite relaxing, as Bologna kept the ball, and the supporters olé’d every pass. After the game, Donadoni talked about a solid team performance:
That was a team win, one of character. We were very good in the first half as we showed intensity and determination in attack against a great team.
The team really showed character in the second half as they had to defend one man down. To do it with such conviction is very impressive. On the sending off, Donadoni had this to say:
But today, everyone did well considering that we played a half down to ten men for a sending off that made me laugh.
Thankfully the sending off did not affect the result, but it is quite astonishing that the referee did not turn to VAR. What is the point of introducing a technology to aid the referees when they do not use it in dubious situations? Anyhow, hopefully the referee will get punished for his decision, but I would not count on it.
I really enjoyed Okwonkwo’s cameo, he is game after game now proving that he has the quality to affect games for Bologna. Not only has he the ability to be at the right place at the right time, but his work-rate and agility are also impressive. His goal today was well taken, even though Palacio almost got in the way. After the game, Orji had this to say:
I’m really happy for the goal, to win today was really important for us and they were three deserved points. It definitely wasn’t easy, especially because it was 10 against 11 for the whole of the second half. On the ball for the goal, I got there at the same time as Palacio but I was just there first so took the shot. Rodrigo was very happy as well.
You cannot question his ability to be there first when there is a chance, something he has done three times for Bologna this season. I think that he should be given a chance from start in one of the upcoming matches, as he has earned it with his recent displays. Destro would then be the most likely to drop out, perhaps a bit unlucky, as he played well the 45 minutes he got today. His work-rate was good, he won a lot of headers, and was good with the ball at his feet. The sending off sent Destro to the bench, but he should be pleased with his performance in the first half.
- Defending: An overall good defensive display, and a huge improvement from the last game against Verona. If Donadoni’s boys can keep this up, then most teams will have trouble scoring against them.
- Attacking: It wasn’t just he defending that was good in this game, as Bologna’s attack caused a lot of problems for Sampdoria. Verdi was once again excellent, and he got himself a goal and as assist.
- Team moral: Even though being two goals up, the wrong sending off of Torosidis could have made the team angry, which could have given Sampdoria the opportunity to come back into the game. That, they didn’t, as Bologna stood together as a team and denied Sampdoria scoring opportunities in the second half.
- Not a lot of negatives in this match, as Bologna delivered a good game from start to finish. A sending off is always a regret, but given how the second yellow was very harsh, that is not something to single out as a negative.
Ibrahima M’baye: The young defender delivered a nearly perfect game. In defence, he won headers, tackled with composure, and denied Sampdoria space on Bologna’s right hand side. Going forward, he provided Bologna with width, and his headed goal was quite sublime. If he can keep this form going, then he will definitely be Bologna’s first choice right-back.
This was the last game of November. Bologna now go into a month with five matches, and they first face off against Cagliari at home. This is a very important game, especially considering that they play Milan and Juventus thereafter. After this win, Bologna are currently in 7th place, six points behind Sampdoria in 6th. Bologna can drop down to tenth again if result go against them, as Chievo, Torino, Fiorentina and AC Milan play later in the round. Anyhow, if those result go against Bologna, they are still in a very good position going into December.
Bologna fans olé-ing Bologna when they passed the ball the last five minutes of the match, as Sampdoria had given up entirely.
Photo: Bologna FC