Saturday, 28 July 2007

Intertoto Cup: Samp secure qualifying spot

Saturday 28 July 2007
UEFA Intertoto Cup, Third Round 2nd Leg

Sampdoria held on to their slender first-leg lead long into the second half against Cherno Varna until a stoppage-time goal by Christian Maggio secured their safe passage into the second qualifying round of the UEFA Cup.

Samp, European Cup finalists in 1992, started the match at a high tempo but struggled to carve out any meaningful goalscoring opportunities despite adopting an attacking approach. Cherno, after resisting the onslaught of the opening 20 minutes, began to create chances of their own and came close to levelling the tie on aggregate when Georgi Andanov hit the outside of the near post with a free-kick from the right midway through the first half.

At the other end Claudio Bellucci almost scored for the Italian outfit on 23 minutes but contrived to head Sergio Volpi's cross over the crossbar rather than towards goal.

The Bulgarian visitors continued to threaten in the early stages of the second half and Luca Castellazzi was forced to make an extraordinary save to turn away Kiril Djorov's powerful shot from just outside the penalty area.

Blucerchiati coach Walter Mazzarri then replaced attacking midfielder Vladimir Koman with full-back Maggio in an attempt to stifle Cherna's attacking impetus and the move proved more decisive than perhaps even he could have envisaged as it was the substitute Maggio who cropped up to latch on to a pass from Bellucci and score the winner for the home side two minutes into added time.

The Genoa-based side are now just a two-legged match away from the UEFA Cup proper. The draw for the second qualifying round will take place on August 3, with the games on August 16 and 30. If Mazzarri's side qualify, they will join the three Italian representatives already in the UEFA Cup tournament - Empoli, Fiorentina and Palermo.

[First Leg: Match Report]

Source: C4 Football Italia / UEFA

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