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Empoli put brakes on Samp. Eder cancels out Pucciarelli: 1-1


Empoli put brakes on Samp. Eder cancels out Pucciarelli: 1-1

Sooner or later there had to be a draw between Sampdoria and Empoli at Marassi and this was the night they managed it, after nine previous attempts.

It finished 1-1 after an open, entertaining game. Manuel Pucciarelli put the visitors in front with a beautifully executed goal midway through the second half then Eder Citadin Martins equalised minutes later to confirm his place as Serie A’s (joint) topscorer.

Doria lined up in a 4-3-3 formation which was largely unchanged from the side that beat Verona on Sunday. Antonio Cassano came in for Luis Muriel up front and Djamel Mesbah slotted into the left-back berth as Vasco Regini was forced to withdraw during the pre-match warm-up.

Roberto Soriano was the first to sting the palms of the visiting keeper and Riccardo Saponara followed suit with Emiliano Viviano, but neither chance came to anything.

Empoli were proving just how well-drilled a side they are and they gave very little away in the opening half, which ended 0-0 despite the Blucerchiati’s probing.

Marco Giampaolo brought on 18-year-old midfielder Assane Diousse for Raffaele Maiello at half time but it was Samp who came racing back out of the dressing rooms. Cassano played in Eder and the forward sent a low ball into the mixer for Carbonero that was deflected narrowly wide.

Pucciarelli then stepped up to break the deadlock with a goal of the finest quality. Making a yard of space for himself with a perfect first touch, he turned and curled a majestic finish into the far corner where Viviano couldn’t possibly hope to reach it.

Walter Zenga rang the changes and threw on Luis Muriel and Joaquin Correa in place of Cassano and Soriano.

Eder took on the armband and with it the responsibility of pulling Samp level. Fernando won the ball with his high pressing in midfield and slipped it through to the Italy striker, who obliged by shooting across Lukasz Skorupski and into the net for his eighth of the campaign.

Marassi’s cheers stoked up the Blucerchiati’s enthusiasm as they went on the hunt for a winner. Eder picked out Correa with an exquisite delivery but the youngster’s flying header finished high.

Muriel was then offered the chance to score after a neatly worked team move but he clipped his finish just the wrong side of the post.

Diousse was sent in for an early bath after collecting his second of the night and Alejandro Rodriguez was thrown on as a target man for the final onslaught. Alas, in vain.

It might have felt like two dropped points at home but it was a positive showing from Samp nonetheless and bodes well for Monday’s visit to Chievo.

Sampdoria 1
Empoli 1
Goals: Pucciarelli 64, Eder 67.

Sampdoria (4-3-3): Viviano; Cassani, Silvestre, Zukanovic, Mesbah; Barreto, Fernando, Soriano (Correa 65); Carbonero (Rodriguez 89), Cassano (Muriel 62), Eder.
Subs not used: Puggioni, Brignoli, Moisander, Bonazzoli, Pereira, Palombo, De Silvestri, Rocca, Ivan.
Manager: Walter Zenga.

Empoli (4-3-1-2): Skorupski; Laurini, Tonelli, Costa, Mário Rui; Zielinski, Maiello (Diousse 46), Buchel (Paredes 86); Saponara; Maccarone, Pucciarelli (Krunic 70).
Subs not used: Pugliesi, Pelagotti, Zambelli, Bittante, Ronaldo, Barba, Piu, Camporese, Livaja.
Manager: Marco Giampaolo.

Referee: Cervellera (Taranto).
Assistants: Tegoni (Milan) and Valeriani (Ravenna).
Fourth official: Tonolini (Milan).
Additional assistants: Mazzoleni (Bergamo) and Rapuano (Rimini).

Sent off: Diousse 88 (second yellow).
Booked: Costa 21, Soriano 41, Diousse 52, Muriel 65, Buchel 71, Skorupski 90+1.
Added time: 0+4 minutes.

Tickets: Season ticket holders 19,114 (€152,366), single tickets 1,201 (€23,655).
Pitch: good condition.

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