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SOCCERItaly - Serie A
FINAL (3/3/2024)
Related News (Soccer News)

Bastoni scores late as Empoli continues improvement under Nicola with 3-2 win at Sassuolo

Sat, Feb 24, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Bastoni scores late as Empoli continues improvement under Nicola with 3-2 win at Sassuolo

MILAN (AP) - Substitute Simone Bastoni scored deep in stoppage time to help Empoli snatch a 3-2 win at Sassuolo on Saturday in a Serie A relegation fight and continue its positive run under Davide Nicola.

Bastoni was brought on with 10 minutes remaining and headed in a rare - and important - goal in the fourth minute of added on time.

Empoli was one spot above last place when Nicola replaced Aurelio Andreazzoli as coach last month but has not lost a game since, winning three of its six matches to move up to 13th, five points above the relegation zone.

Nicola has a reputation as an escape specialist, having helped Crotone and Salernitana avoid relegation in recent seasons.

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Sassuolo, in contrast, is in free fall and has now lost five of its past six matches to leave it level on points with 18th-place Hellas Verona.

The match was between sides going in the opposite direction and Empoli took the lead in the 11th minute when Sebastiano Luperto headed in Razvan Marin's free kick.

Luperto hit his head on the base of the left post as he was doing so and the Empoli captain received treatment as he lay on the ground but was able to continue.

Empoli thought it had doubled its lead in the 23rd. Matteo Cancellieri's cross went past everyone and came off the left post. Sassuolo defender Marcus Pedersen headed the rebound off the line but it came straight to Youssef Maleh, who turned and fired it in but it was ruled out as he had controlled the ball with the help of his hand.

Sassuolo was given a way back into the match nine minutes into the second half when it was awarded a penalty following a video review for a foul on Ruan by Ardian Ismajli.

Andrea Pinamonti had missed a penalty against Atalanta last week but he made no mistake from the spot this time.

Empoli restored its lead with a penalty of its own 10 minutes later, with M'Baye Niang winning and converting the spot kick after his shot had been handled by Sassuolo captain Gian Marco Ferrari.

Ferrari redeemed himself 13 minutes from time when he headed Nedim Bajrami's free kick into the bottom left corner.

However, Bastoni scored his first goal in nearly two years to snatch a vital win for Empoli.

Bottom team Salernitana played Monza later Saturday and Genoa hosted Udinese.


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer

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