However, Cragno was beaten in the 28th minute when Gabbiadini lost his marker in the box to fire home the opening goal from Angelo Palombo's free kick.
Sampdoria's lead was doubled in spectacular fashion just before the break thanks to Pedro Obiang, who took advantage of space on the edge of the area to score his side's second with a powerful strike.
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Gabbiadini should have put the result beyond doubt early in the second half, but he was left frustrated as his effort rebounded off the post, with Cragno looking helpless.
Fabrizio Cacciatore gifted Cagliari a way back into the match just before the hour mark with a foul on Victor Ibarbo inside the box, and a second yellow card quickly followed for the Sampdoria defender.
Danilo Avelar stepped up from 12 yards to power the penalty home and increase Caglari's hopes of an unlikely comeback.
They piled the pressure on as they looked for an equaliser, and Sampdoria's defence crumbled under pressure as they allowed their advantage to slip away.
Avelar played a crucial role with a clever pass to release Marco Sau, who remained calm under pressure to drill home the equaliser 12 minutes from time.