The Nerazzurri fell to their first defeat of the season at Marassi, and Goal.com was on hand to rate the players on show...
Castellazzi: 7 – Had a comfortable game with little to do, but pulled off a magnificent save from Lucio's injury time free kick to keep his side ahead.
Stankevicius: 6 – Solid game at right back and dealt with the threat of Santon adequately.
Lucchini: 7 – Along with Gastaldello, he kept the Inter strike duo quiet with some strong tackles and tight marking.
Gastaldello: 7 – Confident and assured at centre back. Picked up a yellow card late on as Samp looked to protect their lead.
Ziegler: 6.5 – Unable to cope with the threat of Balotelli in the first half, but forced Maicon to go inside and kept a tight line with the rest of the back four.
Mannini: 6.5 – Drifted in and out of the game and was innocuous for large periods. However, he was involved when his team needed him and delivered an instinctive cross for the goal.
Palombo: 7 – Typical tough tackling performance from the skipper. Looked to get forward as often as possible and broke up a number of Inter moves.
Poli: 6 – He was impressive at the start of the match but faded as Maicon grew into the game. Substituted midway into the second half.
Bellucci: 5.5 – Given a free role behind Cassano and Pazzini, but it was an ineffective performance from the 34-year-old.
Pazzini: 7 – Showed his quality when he ghosted into the penalty area and sidefooted home for the only goal of the game, but was starved of service for much of the game.
Cassano: 6.5 – He tried to create chances and opportunities for his team and was always a thorn in the side of the Inter defence. However, he failed to get a single shot away himself and was booked for diving in the 40th minute.
Tissone: 6 - Did not have enough time to make a real impact.
Zauri: 6 – Like Bellucci, he was rarely involved in the attacking play but Samp were defending for much of the time he was on the pitch.
Julio Cesar: 5.5 – Had little to do and was left exposed by his defence for the goal. However, he looked far from his usual composed self, particularly when dealing with Ziegler's 45th minute shot.
Maicon: 6.5 – The Brazilian was getting forward more than his midfield team-mates as he had few defensive duties, but was forced inside by Ziegler and could not get any of his trademark piledrivers away.
Lucio: 6 – Solid game from the former Bayer Leverkusen defender, and he was unlucky with his injury time free kick.
Samuel: 5 – His defensive lapse cost his team. The Argentine coped with the threat of Pazzini in the first half, but left him completely unmarked in the 72nd minute and was punished as Sampdoria took the lead.
Santon: 6 – The youngster tried to get forward and was defensively sound, but was frustrated with the lack of options he had in attack and had little space in which to work.
Vieira: 5 – Committed a number of needless fouls and failed to impose himself on the midfield. His best days are clearly behind him.
Cambiasso: 6 – Tested Castellazzi midway through the first half with a decent effort. The lack of creativity in midfield is not down to the Argentine, who attempted to support the strikers as often as possible.
Zanetti: 5.5 – Covered his defence, but was a member of a defensive-minded midfield that may as well have stayed in Milan for all the attacking support they gave their strikers.
Balotelli: 6.5 – Showed his talent tonight with some excellent link up play and gave Ziegler endless problems. Frequently forced to drop very deep to find the ball due to the inadequacies of the midfield.
Milito: 5.5 – A quiet night for the Argentine. He had a few half chances on which he was unable to capitalise, but was given little to go on.
Eto’o: 5.5 – It wasn't the former Barcelona striker's best night. Although he wasn't afraid to have a shot, he was unable to test Castellazzi.
Chivu: 6 – Came on for the lively Balotelli, which allowed Santon to push forward, but the change had little effect.
Stankovic: 5.5 – Certainly more of an attacking threat than Vieira but did not create any real openings for his team-mates.
Quaresma: 6 – Not given long enough to make an impression.
Anthony Wright, Goal.com