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    Empoli dash Napoli’s Scudetto dreams

    Andrea Pinamonti Empoli

    Football   |   April 25, 2022

     

    Napoli are now out of the contention for the Serie A title after suffering a 3-2 loss against Empoli.

    The Pertonopei suffered a spectacular capitulation, going from 2-0 up before losing 3-2 in just seven minutes.

    Empoli also celebrated their first win since December.

    The Partenopei needed a victory to stay in the title race. With just a point gathered from their last two games, it was over for the Naples club.

    Napoli were without the reliable central defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, due to suspension, while Giovanni Di Lorenzo, Stanislav Lobotka, and Eljif Elmas are all out injured.

    They fell like a pack of cards against an Empoli team that is without a win in 16 Serie A rounds, a new club record. The club is also without long-term absentees Lorenzo Tonelli, Riccardo Marchizza, and Nicolas Haas.

    Empoli failed to take the lead from a rare opportunity in the fourth minute. Andrea Pinamonti incredibly turned a free header wide on a corner at the back post.

    In-form striker Victor Osimhen nodded a couple of corners over the bar.

    Alex Meret was also tested twice by Valerio Verre on through balls before making the save on Kristjan Asllani at the near post.

    Napoli opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime just as Empoli were pinning them back. Osimhen’s dummy led to a low Chucky Lozano cross through from the right for Mertens to sweep in the first time from 12 yards.

    Lorenzo Insigne made it two with his second Serie A goal of the season from open play. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa won back the ball in midfield and spread it down the left for his first-time angled drive with the weaker left foot.

    Meret was also called into action again when he smothered a Filippo Bandinelli effort. He also punched Verre’s strike over.

    Later, he couldn’t stop Empoli from scoring a deserved goal. Kevin Malcuit got robbed in midfield, and a ricochet fell kindly for Liam Henderson in acres of space. He had time to control and drill into the far bottom corner.

    Nedim Bajrami almost made it 2-2 moments later when he ballooned over from 12 yards.

    But the goal eventually arrived when Meret was caught napping during what should’ve been a simple ball played out from the back. The goalie was pressed by Pinamonti, who scored from six yards.

    Napoli finally crumbled for another time this season by conceding the third. Bajrami, on the counter, whipped his cross over the head of Federico Di Francesco for Pinamonti to come sliding in at the back post.

    The win was also Empoli’s first win since December 2021, which coincidentally was also against Napoli.

    In the big-match fixture of the weekend, AC Milan came from behind to defeat Lazio 2-1. Ciro Immobile opened the scoring for Lazio in the 4th minute, but Olivier Giroud equalized in the second half. The winning goal came through Sandro Tonali in the dying minutes of the game.

     

    Written by: Oladipupo Mojeed

     

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