Empoli got back on track with another surprise away victory at Cagliari, as Federico Di Francesco and Leo Stulac brought down Walter Mazzarri’s side.
The Sardinians earned a 2-2 draw at Lazio on new coach Mazzarri’s debut, but here he lost suspended Gabriele Zappa, injured Marko Rog, Damir Ceter and Paolo Faragò, with Kevin Strootman and Diego Godin still not at 100 per cent. Empoli went from victory at the Allianz Juventus Stadium to home losses against Venezia and Sampdoria. Lorenzo Tonelli, Paolo Bandinelli, Samir Ujkani and Riccardo Fiamozzi were unavailable, Andrea Pinamonti promoted into the starting XI.
Charalampos Lykogiannis stung Guglielmo Vicario’s gloves with a ferocious effort, while Federico Di Francesco came sliding in just a moment too late to meet the Riccardo Marchizza assist.
Di Francesco did get the opening goal for Empoli moments later, as Lukas Haas stayed on his feet to turn Dalbert and pull back, the finish taking a deflection off Luca Ceppitelli.
Razvan Marin could only find the side-netting from close range, while Liam Henderson forced a save with his finish through a defender’s legs.
Cagliari stepped up the pressure after the break, Lykogiannis flashing a ball across the face of goal that Joao Pedro was inches away from connecting with, then Keita Balde Diao smashed an effort against the base of the upright, Vicario reacting very quickly to gather the rebound.
Pinamonti failed to make the most of a Henderson corner and Alessio Cragno made a desperate one-handed save to turn the Szymon Zurkowski strike around the post.
However, on the resulting corner, Leo Stulac hit a screamer into the top corner from outside the box, simply unstoppable even for Cragno.
Henderson almost scored the goal of the season when he spotted Cragno off his line and attempted a lob from midfield, which nearly came off, as it hit the crossbar.
Cagliari 0-2 Empoli
Di Francesco 29 (E), Stulac 59 (E)