A late winner from Adrien Tameze separated the two sides at the Bentegodi, as Hellas Verona picked up a 2-1 win over a resilient Empoli on Monday.
The two teams were locked at 16 points after 12 Serie A games heading into the match at the Bentegodi on Monday night.
Hellas Verona started best in an intense first few minutes of the match, but never manged to test goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.
Empoli then edged closer and eventually took over the momentum in the half when Liam Henderson struck the crossbar from 25 yards after 16 minutes.
The visitors continued to push for the opening goal but didn’t find a way past Lorenzo Montipò in the Gialloblu goal.
It was a physical battle with end-to-end stuff at the Bentegodi, as both teams felt they could have scored the first goal at the break.
Tudor decided to bring on Darko Lazovik at half-time, replacing Nicolò Casale at left and the move paid off.
Lazovic, who was uncertain for the match, returned from injury with an assist to Antonin Barak, as he whipped in a cross to find the forward unmarked at 11 yards.
The Czech Republic international’s header beat Vicario and gave the hosts the lead after 50 minutes.
Verona seemed to be in control and came close with Gianluca Caprari with only 28 minutes left of the half, but Vicario was not to be beaten this time.
But then the home side relaxed a bit too much and Empoli found a way back into the match, when Koray Günter makes a big mistake to gift Simone Romagnoli a tap-in to make it 1-1.
The equaliser woke Empoli up and the visitors pushed for a second but were stopped by an excellent Montipò on two occasions.
In the final minutes there were a few chances at both ends, but none of them found the target, as the match seemed to ebb out in a stalemate.
But then Tameze showed up, at the end of a pass from Barak into the area and he smashes home the winner in the 90th minute.
The ball took a deflection towards goal and skipped over Vicario in the Empoli goal and Verona could celebrate all the spoils on Monday night.
Igor Tudor’s men put pressure on Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina in the table, as they are currently only two points behind their rivals in the top half of Serie A.