The Dorians wake up after going under. The draw canceled by the referee Santoro who, after having consulted the Var, recognizes a hand ball by Gabbiadini on the goal action
It was supposed to be the race of the great exes, from Caputo to Lammers via Verre. It should have been an opportunity for Sampdoria to exploit, to re-emerge from the quicksand. It was none of that. Dejan Stankovic’s team does not take advantage of the defeats of Sassuolo and Salernitana and falls at Empoli, leaving the distances unchanged. The Tuscans did better, even if in the second half they gave the initiative more to the Blucerchiati risking being overtaken. The goal that decided the match was scored by Ebuehi, a loyalist of Paolo Zanetti who had had him in Venice, who headed over the Empoli defense at the start of the second half for a further spurt towards a serene salvation. However, what will cause discussion is the controversial ending, which saw the annulment of the equalizer scored by Colley after a long time due to a touch of the hand by Gabbiadini judged voluntary during the action.
From the very first minutes, the attitude of the two formations is very similar: maneuvered actions, very few long balls and high pressure on the opposing team. Zanetti and Stankovic rely on the ex of the forward match, with Caputo and Lammers called to affect. In any case, it is Empoli who are preferred in terms of opportunities. In the 10th minute it was Marin who called Audero into question at the end of an enveloping maneuver close to the edge of the area. Seven minutes later, Vicario didn’t get along with Bandinelli and Vieira recovered a very dangerous ball, without however being able to serve Gabbiadini who would have had the door almost wide open. The Sampdoria goalkeeper rejected Ebuehi’s shot (24′), the Blucerchiati then came close to taking the lead in the 28th minute with Leris’ excellent header from Augello’s cross that hit the crossbar. In the end of the first half, bad reaction from Parisi after a free foul by Lammers: the referee Santoro warns, but the Tuscan winger risks the red card. In full recovery, a nice triangulation between Satriano and Bandinelli, the former Inter in a split is unable to frame the goal.
No changes at half-time and the match overall resumed exactly as it was at rest. This time it is Caputo who looks for Satriano in the area, the attacker anticipates Colley with his heel at the near post, also in this case without hitting the posts (47′). Sampdoria’s response was immediate, in the 51st minute a sensational intervention by Vicario was needed, who deflected for a corner, on Vieira’s plate from outside the area heading for the corner. Three minutes later, the match unlocked: on Marin’s corner kick from the left, Ebuehi soared higher than anyone to put Audero behind. The teams lengthen, Empoli tries to take advantage of it with Caputo who tries diagonally, however still finding the hands of the Sampdoria goalkeeper. The coaches change very little after the hour of play: Stankovic sends in Winks, Zanoli and Sabiri (out Leris, Amione and Verre), Zanetti inserts Pjaca and Haas for Baldanzi and Bandinelli. It took the Moroccan midfielder a few seconds to get noticed, with a shot from distance that forced Vicario to make a save. The guests’ hopes of a draw dissolved again on an intervention by him, with which he made up for Luperto’s hole which allowed Gabbiadini to kick into the area in the 82nd minute. The last minutes are of suffering for Empoli, forced to play with one man down due to Ismajli’s injury which comes after five substitutions. So there’s still time for another one: Lammers aims at the defense, arrives on the edge and shoots at the near post, Vicario is once again unbeatable and doesn’t let himself be surprised.
In the final seconds, the impossible happens. On a free kick, on which the match would have ended, Vicario was always miraculous on Colley; on the development of the action, there is a dubious contact between Gabbiadini and Luperto on the edge of the area. As the Dorian striker falls, he touches the ball with his hand, Audero in an offensive projection suggests the ball with a digger which reaches Colley again who with a precise diagonal scores an unexpected draw. Santoro, however, is called by Marini and Guida to an on-field review: Gabbiadini, in a fall after the clash with Luperto, involuntarily touches and stops the ball with one arm, making it playable for his goalkeeper. The referee disallows the goal. And so, after more than a hundred minutes, Empoli wins. It pours over the Castellani, but the darkest clouds are those that gather over Sampdoria.
January 16, 2023 (change January 16, 2023 | 23:21)
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