Tommaso Baldanzi’s strike squirmed under Andre Onana for an historic Empoli victory at San Siro, but Inter paid the price for Milan Skriniar’s avoidable red card.
Before this result, Empoli had lost 13 of their previous 14 Serie A visits, winning 1-0 in January 2004 with Tommaso Rocchi, again with the hosts down to 10 men.
The Nerazzurri presented the Supercoppa Italiana to the crowd before kick-off, having beaten Milan 3-0 in Riyadh on Wednesday to retain the trophy. Marcelo Brozovic and Samir Handanovic were still injured, with Romelu Lukaku only fit for the bench, while Edin Dzeko was rested after becoming a father again. The Tuscans missed Lorenzo Tonelli, Mattia Destro, Alberto Grassi, Ardian Ismajli and suspended Razvan Marin, but dropped Inter-owned Martin Satriano after a change of system.
It was an aggressive start from Empoli, as Nicolò Cambiaghi controlled a ball over the top and the angled drive was beaten away by Andre Onana at the near post. On the resulting corner, Henrikh Mkhitaryan accidentally kicked Francesco Caputo in the head, but it was not considered to be a foul.
Caputo was sent clear by a Nedim Bajrami through ball and saw the shot deflected just off target, while Guglielmo Vicario used his legs to keep out a sensational Federico Dimarco volley at the near post.
Alessandro Bastoni turned a free header wide and Lautaro Martinez scuffed the finish from six yards under pressure on a Dimarco volleyed assist.
Just as Inter were growing into the game, Milan Skriniar received his second yellow card for a very high foot that caught Caputo on the head, reducing the hosts to 10 men.
Raoul Bellanova came on and immediately his terrible back-pass gifted a chance that Cambiaghi didn’t make the most of, but Matteo Darmian had to perform some heroic defending with his clearance to prevent Caputo tapping in the Cambiaghi low cross from the right, risking an own goal.
Mkhitaryan blasted over and Onana needed a double save on Bajrami from a tight angle and the Henderson follow-up.
However, Onana let a Tommaso Baldanzi strike squirm under his body from the edge of the box as Empoli took the lead with the substitute just minutes after his introduction. It was the 19-year-old’s fourth goal in just 10 Serie A appearances this season.
Nicolò Barella was booked for dissent and then shouted angrily at the Inter staff when substituted, while Edin Dzeko’s volley was just wide from a floated Calhanoglu pass.
Stefan de Vrij’s glancing header on a Kristjan Asllani corner thumped the crossbar on 77 minutes and Simone Inzaghi’s substitutions sparked a ferocious fightback from Inter in the closing stages.
Robin Gosens and Dzeko both fired over from tricky positions late on.
Inter 0-1 Empoli
Baldanzi 66 (E)
Sent off: Skriniar 40 (I)