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Late flurry secures Christmas win over Empoli


Late flurry secures Christmas win over Empoli

After an exciting, back and forth contest at Empoli it was Sampdoria that ultimately came out on top thanks to a late double salvo from Gianluca Caprari, which secured a well-deserved victory that leaves the team in seventh place and on 26 points this Christmas.

Marco Giampaolo thought he had seen his team make a flying start to the game, when Fabio Quagliarella sent Nicola Murru’s cross into the net in the opening minutes, only to see the goal chalked off for offside, a decision that was confirmed by the VAR. The VAR’s input was needed minutes later, when Murru appeared to foul Antonino La Gumina in the penalty area. The hosts were awarded the spot-kick which Manuel Pasqual converted.

Despite falling behind Doria kept up their patient passing game and created numerous chances to draw level, with Quagliarella and Gaston Ramirez forcing Ivan Provedel into numerous saves, but it ultimately took a moment of brilliance from the Uruguayan to make it 1-1. With only a few minutes of the first half remaining, Ramirez burst into the area after some clever footwork and fired an unstoppable left-foot shot high past the Empoli ‘keeper.

Samp made a positive start to the second period and were awarded a penalty in the early going, after Lorenzo Tonelli went down in the box. However, following consultation with the VAR, the referee reversed his initial decision.

The dominance of Giampaolo’s team continued and with just under 70 minutes played, Quagliarella spurned a golden opportunity to put Doria 2-1 up, heading Murru’s cross over the bar from close range. Luckily for the striker, he was presented with an identical chance just moments later and on this occasion, he did not disappoint, heading home his tenth goal of the season.

Empoli were quick to reply, however, as Francesco Caputo fired across Emil Audero into the corner on 76 minutes. The goal was initially ruled out before the VAR overturned the decision. From that moment it appeared that there would only be one winner, as the home-side applied sustained pressure, forcing Audero into several important stops.

However Giampaolo had what proved to be a decisive card up his sleeve: Gianluca Caprari. The Italian forward scored two quick-fire goals to secure all three points for the away side. The first came from a shot that Provedel will feel he should have saved, but there was little he could do about the second: a wonderful lofted effort from a tight angle that put the result beyond doubt.

It was a well-earned victory for the Blucerchiati, who welcome Chievo to the Marassi on St. Stephen’s Day.

Empoli 2-4 Sampdoria (HT: 1-1)
Scorers: Pasqual 11 (pen.), Ramirez 41, Quagliarella 69, Caputo 76, Caprari 87, 90+1.

Empoli (3-5-2): Provedel; Veseli, Silvestre, Rasmussen (Zajc 72); Di Lorenzo, Acquah (Ucan 84), Bennacer, Traore, Pasqual; La Gumina, Caputo.
Subs not used: Terracciano, Fulignati, Brighi, Mchedlidze, Rodriguez, Antonelli, Maietta, Untersee, Capezzi, Mraz.
Coach: Iachini.

Sampdoria (4-3-1-2): Audero; Sala, Tonelli, Andersen, Murru; Praet, Ekdal, Linetty (Jankto 86); Ramírez (Saponara 65); Quagliarella, Defrel (Caprari 85).
Subs not used: Rafael, Belec, Vieira, Colley, Leverbe, Tavares, Ferrari, Rolando, Kownacki.
Coach: Giampaolo.

Referee: Calvarese (Teramo).
Assistants: Peretti (Verona) and Mastrodonato (Molfetta).
Fourth official: Massimi di Teramo.
VAR: Sacchi (Macerata).
Assistant VAR: Carbone (Naples).
Yellow cards: Andersen 18, Acquah 33, Quagliarella 70, Ekdal 82, La Gumina 85.
Added time: 1 + 6 minutes.

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