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Honours even between Empoli and Samp. Laurini cancels out Quagliarella’s opener


Honours even between Empoli and Samp. Laurini cancels out Quagliarella’s opener

It could have been a significant stride towards safety. In the end though it was merely a step forward, albeit a decisive and convincing one. Sampdoria followed up consecutive wins over Frosinone and Hellas Verona respectively with a point against a better quality side, keen to stop the rot after four straight defeats. The signs were good for the Blucerchiati, above all the excellent form of Fabio Quagliarella, with three goals in his previous four matches.

Dodô came in for Lazaros Christodoulopoulos in Vincenzo Montella’s only change to the side that saw off Verona. Samp couldn’t reproduce their performance from the Stadio Bentegodi however. Indeed, Empoli made the better start to proceedings, creating two good opportunities in the opening 15 minutes.

Quagliarella threatened for the first time on the quarter-hour mark yet Lukasz Skorupski was alert to the danger. Five minutes later, Riccardo Saponara found space in the box and shot across goal. Emiliano Viviano pushed the ball away and Massimo Maccarone blazed over from a couple of yards out. Midway through the first period, the Azzurri fashioned arguably an even more clear-cut chance. Manuel Pucciarelli collected Skorupski’s ball forward and evaded the desperate lunge of Viviano, way off his line. The Empoli man could only strike the upright however with his left-footed effort from the best part of 40 yards.

Samp then came forward, with Roberto Soriano shooting tamely on 27 minutes, before Quagliarella fired over with his left shortly before the break. The latter would make no mistake moments later however. Antonio Cassano found Quagliarella who fired a shot on the turn which caught Vincent Laurini and outfoxed Skorupski on its way into the back of the net. That flash of brilliance sent the visitors in with the lead at the break.

The game continued in much the same vein after the interval, with the high tempo only being disrupted by a trio of substitutions. Levian Mchedlidze and Luca Bittante replaced Maccarone and Lorenzo Ariaudo respectively, while Cassano made way for Joaquín Correa. The Blucerchiati pressed high and caused problems for the home backline, particularly through Quagliarella on a couple of occasions midway through the second period.

Mchedlidze poked wide as he slid in on Pucciarelli’s cross from the right, before Christodoulopoulos deputised for Dodô for the last 15 minutes of the contest. Marko Livaja was sent on for Leandro Paredes for the Azzurri meanwhile. Empoli pushed forward and equalised, as Laurini headed home from close range from Mario Rui’s accurate free-kick.

The hosts weren’t done yet and pushed up in search of a winner late on. Viviano held firm, however, and after Christodoulopoulos’ late free-kick, the Blucerchiati emerged with a solid point. On we go.

Empoli 1-1 Sampdoria (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: Quagliarella 42; Laurini 82.

Empoli (4-3-1-2): Skorupski; Laurini, Ariaudo (Bittante 61), Costa, Mario Rui; Zielinski, Paredes (Livaja 79), Croce; Saponara; Maccarone (Mchedlidze 56), Pucciarelli.
Subs not used: Pugliesi, Pelagotti, Zambelli, Maiello, Diousse, Piu, Camporese, Krunic, Buchel.
Coach: Marco Giampaolo.

Sampdoria (3-4-2-1): Viviano; Cassani, Ranocchia, Moisander; De Silvestri, Fernando, Soriano, Dodô (Christodoulopoulos 78); Alvarez, Cassano (Correa 65); Quagliarella (Barreto 90).
Subs not used: Puggioni, Brignoli, Rodriguez, Pereira, Krsticic, Diakité, Muriel, Silvestre, Ivan.

Referee: Fabbri (Ravenna).
Assistants: Giallatini & Di Vuolo.
Fourth official: Carbone.
Additional assistants: Giacomelli & La Penna.

Booked: De Silvestri 31, Mario Rui 56, Costa 69, al Alvarez 78.
Added time: 0+4 minutes.

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