Stefano Colantuono made a shocking debut on the Salernitana bench, trailing 4-0 to Empoli by half-time, although they did get it back to a slightly less humiliating 4-2 result.
The hosts sacked Fabrizio Castori this week after just one win from eight rounds, bringing in Colantuono. Franck Ribery returned from injury, but Mamadou Coulibaly, Norbert Gyomber, Leonardo Capezzi and Lassana Coulibaly were out of action, with Strandberg and Joel Obi not fully fit either. The Tuscans were missing Simone Romagnoli.
It took 90 seconds for Empoli to take the lead at the Stadio Arechi, as Filippo Bandinelli was allowed to simply run forward, release Andrea Pinamonti with a through ball and the striker beat the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Nwankwo Simy had the ball in the net on Ribery’s assist, but was very narrowly flagged offside.
Moments later, Empoli doubled their advantage instead, Patrick Cutrone running onto the Nicolas Haas slide-rule pass to again beat Vid Belec off his line.
Incredibly, it was 3-0 barely a minute after that, Liam Henderson pulling across from the by-line for Cutrone, but it was Stefan Strandberg who got the final touch from a yard.
Cutrone could’ve made it 4-0 by the 17th minute, but fired over from close range, while Pinamonti’s strike was deflected wide.
Belec did manage to parry a Pinamonti angled drive, but Strandberg wiped out the striker on the follow-through for a penalty. Pinamonti converted for 4-0 with a cheeky Panenka. Belec considered this to be unnecessarily insulting in the circumstances and chased Pinamonti to remonstrate afterwards.
Salernitana got one back at the dawn of the second half, with Ribery rolling across for Luca Ranieri to fire in from nine yards, his debut Serie A goal.
They were pouring forward, Di Tacchio’s attempt cleared off the line by Sebastiano Luperto, then moments later the Kastanos angled drive thumped the far post, bouncing in off Ardian Ismajli for 4-2.
If the first half was one-way traffic, so was the second, but in the opposite direction, as Salernitana swarmed looking to complete the comeback.
A dangerous cross was punched off the head of Milan Djuric, then Guglielmo Vicario made a sensational save to claw Djuric’s header out from under the bar, when it was at least halfway across the line.
Salernitana 2-4 Empoli
Pinamonti 2, pen 45 (E), Cutrone 11 (E), Strandberg og 13 (E), Ranieri 47 (S), Ismajli og 55 (S)