Cagliari – Match Report vs. Sampdoria (06/01/2022)

Sampdoria hosted Cagliari on the first game back after the winter break of the 2021/22 season Serie A. Very much a bottom-of-the-table clash, and a result here for Cagliari would go a long way in helping their relegation fight. Sampdoria were unbeaten in four heading into this fixture, whereas Cagliari have not won in the league since mid-October. Cagliari elected to start with a 5-3-2 when out of possession and a 3-5-2 when in possession, relying on wingbacks to provide width. 

Sampdoria went 1-0 up after a bit of a defensive mix-up after a corner. Sampdoria and Cagliari both started strong, with Cagliari exerting their pressure in the second half, scoring two goals and generally attacking well with Joao Pedro at the heart of attacks. Sampdoria lacked urgency after these goals and looked flat. A big win for Cagliari that does wonders for their confidence.  


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, re-watch
  • D – Below average in this match

Matteo Lovato  

  • Nationality: Italian 
  • Age: 21
  • Date of birth: 14/02/2000
  • Current club: Cagliari 
  • Career: Padova, Hellas Verona, Atalanta
  • Position: CB 
  • Preferred foot: Right

Matteo Lovato played as the central CB in a back 3, he was responsible for being the sweeper, playing deeper than his CB counterparts. He constantly showed his comfortability on the ball and his general decision-making was good. 

Due to his physicality, there is scope for him to get pinned by a big ST. He is not the most imposing CB, he is liable to get pinned as he did show weaknesses in getting touch-tight to an attacker. On one occasion he was dragged out of position almost to a midfield spot and showed really slow recovery speed to get back, showing little to no intensity at all. However, on one occasion he did get tight to Gabbiadini, Lovato got stuck in and dispossessed the striker from behind, doing well in the process not to give away a foul.  

Very confident and comfortable on the ball, he likes to get on the ball wherever that may be. Despite this confidence, he does not tend to bring the ball out or at least didn’t in this game vs Sampdoria. Technically we saw more measured passing as opposed to line-breaking progressive passes. Long-balls to strikers were hopeful and often went awry. Confidence on the ball is really evident, electing to turn on the ball in his own box which worked out very well, highlighting his assuredness on the ball.  

Defensively, he holds good positions as the deepest CB of a back 3, he found himself in good positions for blocking low crosses and snuffing out the danger that was brought through Cagliari’s centre. Generally, his box management defensively is good and will not stray from his zone in the centre when defending dangerous scenarios on either wing. He did look like he could be beaten 1vs1, as Gabbiadini did this in the opening half, Lovato over-committing and showing Gabbiadini onto his stronger left foot, dragging it wide. 

Rating – B2

Lovato is very highly thought of in Italy since his breakout season with Hellas Verona. If he can put together some good performances at loan then hopefully Atalanta will stand up and notice him and work Lovato into their starting 11 next season. Would suit their 3 at the back well too. 

Giorgio Altare

  • Nationality: Italian 
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 09/08/1998
  • Current club: Cagliari
  • Career: AC Milan, Genoa 
  • Position: CB
  • Preferred foot: Right

Altare played on the right-hand side of a back 3, stylistically the pure opposite to Lovato. A reactive CB who likes to engage and has the energy to get stuck into the opposition at every chance. He showed attacking impetus and running power when called upon. The Italian CB likes to come out and attack the opposition, electing to overlap the RB to provide more options on the wing, also staying deep to provide an option for the cut-back when on the right-wing. Technically he is not the greatest, his first touch and some clearances did go awry, but he puts himself about and shows real willingness to attack and provide options for his team. Not the most comfortable on the ball, and when rushed/pressurised, he panicked, giving away the ball in precarious areas.  

The pressurising of his direct opponents is really strong, Altare will not let them have a moment’s peace, he will not let them turn especially in wide areas, keeping his eye on the ball at all times especially when tackling from behind. Altare is a real nuisance to play against, showing diligence to win the ball back. Despite his pressing ability and engaging nature, his decision-making for Sampdoria’s opener was poor. He elected to press Yoshida from a long ball, was nowhere near it, and thus left Gabbadiani for a tap-in. This will need to be improved, he needs to be more aware and less rash in his energetic press. Defensively, you can see he has a love for defending, this makes last-ditch tackles and interceptions common. Positionally his energy led him to vacate space, especially for Samp’s opener. He will often find himself underneath headers and will come and claim from set-pieces and long-balls. 

Tactically, his body adjustment is well orchestrated and he has a good starting stance when closing down opponents, making it easy for Altare to adjust and make a timely interception. Not necessarily seen as a good trait, but his tactical fouling was very good. Altare fouled well, in terms of fouling to stop a counter/dangerous attack. Altare also showed defensive nous, by halting the opposition when in these scenarios but not going over the top and getting a booking.

Physically, he has a nice frame, he is a bit of a force in both boxes, and with his energy often attacks the ball with real ferocity, often over-exuberant at times. Preferring to leave his mark on opposition defenders Altare will come round the back of attackers and nick the ball, as well as going through the man. Physically his recovery speed is good and reverts to defensive positioning well having provided attacking options. He is likely to win headers all over the pitch, he is not the tallest but has a real leap on him and will win the majority of long balls. 

Rating – B1

Altare is a defender that has recently transferred to Cagliari from Genoa and hopefully, he can find his feet here. He played well today and I would definitely like to keep an eye on him. In terms of the future, hopefully, he can put together a good string of performances and will then more than likely remain in the Serie A if Cagliari are relegated. 

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