Aurelio Andreazzoli’s return to the Empoli bench coincided with a precious victory that practically dooms Frosinone and keeps the Tuscans out of the bottom three.
The hosts fired Coach Beppe Iachini this week and brought back Aurelio Andreazzoli, the tactician who had overseen their promotion as Serie B winners last season. Luca Antonelli, Antonino La Gumina and Levan Mchedlidze were still unavailable, but Marko Pajac was given a surprise start. The Canarini missed Federico Viviani, Paolo Sammarco and Paolo Ghiglione.
It was a very aggressive start from the hosts, who were awarded a penalty several minutes after the incident, as there were some VAR technical difficulties. Diego Farias went on a strong run forward and fell between two defenders, but replays showed Luca Paganini had got a trip on his foot amid the sea of legs. Ciccio Caputo converted to give Empoli the lead with his 13th Serie A goal of the season.
The hosts continued to pour forward with renewed enthusiasm, Marco Sportiello taking two touches to control the Caputo strike, then scrambling to control a lucky ricochet on Caputo’s scuffed finish.
Marko Pajac got the second goal at the end of a long passing move, the kind that got Empoli into Serie A in the first place. Giovanni Di Lorenzo and Rade Krunic moved the ball from right to left, where Pajac smashed into the roof of the net from 12 yards.
Pajac almost got another moments later, his left-foot strike from a tight angle parried by Sportiello, with the goalkeeper also alert on Farias practically unmarked from the penalty spot.
Frosinone had only one chance in the first half, an acrobatic Paganini bicycle kick that skimmed the bar from a corner. The same player went close after the restart, his header inches wide of the upright.
It should’ve been 3-0 on 56 minutes, as on a two against two counter, Caputo rolled across for unmarked Farias to balloon over the bar.
Instead, Frosinone pulled one back when Caputo burst down the right and Bartlomiej Dragowski could only palm it into the path of Luca Valzania for the tap-in. Once again, there were technical problems with VAR and it took several minutes to check it was not offside.
Frosinone came so close to completing the comeback at the 86th minute, but Daniel Ciofani got there ahead of Matias Silvestre to prod the Marcello Trotta assist over the bar, then Federico Dionisi’s header skimmed the upright.
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