Serie A Club of the Round – Empoli


Two perfect results in this round, one rather predictable by Juventus against Frosinone, which has already been covered on the site, the other a little more surprising, by Empoli, which rolled past Sassuolo. The Azzurri had not won since December 9th and copped just two points in the past nine fixtures, against Cagliari and Chievo, and were beaten in all the remaining ones.

Giuseppe Iachini fielded Afriyie Acquah over Hamed Traorè and Cristiano Dell’Orco over Jacob Rasmussesn compared to his most used line-up. Sassuolo posed very little resistance, perhaps caught by surprise by the vigor of the opponents, and Francesco Caputo and company pulled the strings all game long.

Andrea Consigli forestalled Caputo’s deflection on a cross at the 13th minute and miraculously tipped Rade Krunic’s strike on the bar eight minutes later, but could not keep his team afloat on his own for long. At the 34th minute, Krunic got the ball near midfield, scampered towards the box without much opposition, glided past a defender and lofted it over the goalie that was coming out to give his team a deserved lead. Three minutes later, Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Diego Farias interplayed on the right flank, the attacker sent in a juicy square ball and Acquah easily buried it all alone in the box with his left foot.

The Neroverdi’s reaction in the second half very pretty disorganized and left room to counter, so Empoli pounced at the hour-mark, as Ismael Bennacer fed Farias on open space, the ex-Cagliari man fooled Federico Peluso with a terrific one-two touch and toe-poked it through the legs of Consigli.

Bartlomiej Dragowski, who started over Ivan Provedel, had some glory in the final minutes batting away a strike by Manuel Locatelli. Antonino La Gumina was able to play after missing a month and a half and he had the final chance of the game, but his shot went wide.

Empoli gained three points on SPAL and Bologna in the relegation race, distanced themselves from Frosinone and kept up with Udinese and Cagliari. A great loot in the fantasy game: Dragowski paced his teammates with seven points, followed by Krunic, Bennacer, who had two assists, Farias and Acquah with six, four defenders with five points thanks to the clean sheet, the first one in ages for them, Manuel Pasqual with four since he was booked and Salih Ucan and Matteo Brighi with two.

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