Spalletti’s team finished the game already in the first half, in the second half Mario Rui was sent off in the 77th minute
February 25 – EMPOLI
Ruthless. Scandalous for continuity, Luciano Spalletti’s Napoli continues to grind the championship (he left only 7 points out of the 72 available) with the eighth consecutive victory in this 2023 and one night still at +18 waiting for the answer from Inter and the others (alleged) ever more distant pursuers. In less than half an hour the Azzurri close the practice without even too much effort. And in the final with the crazy variant of Mario Rui sent off, the outnumbered team doesn’t even concede a shot to their opponents, and is close to 3-0 even with Simeone and Gaetano. Fifth consecutive match finished undefeated for Meret.
Zanetti’s Empoli, despite the absences in the midfield, tries to counter the leaders who, however, appear in all their power. Because Spalletti, somewhat surprisingly, decides to change only one man with respect to the Champions League (Mario Rui for Olivera) trusting the block he dominated in Frankfurt. The rhythms are lower but the blues behave like a boa snake that envelops its prey and then crushes it. And so, as the minutes went by, Empoli found themselves closed in the last 20 meters and with a series of corner kicks and set-pieces to defend against. Zanetti’s team made the mistake of leaving Kvara too free around the perimeter of the area and the Georgian didn’t forgive. First goal: opens for Zielinski who shoots a cross shot in the middle deflected by Ismajli into his own goal to anticipate Osimhen. About ten minutes later, always free from the edge, Kvara shoots on goal, Vicario makes a short clearance and Osimhen is punctual in scoring for his eighth consecutive league game (10 goals). Then the Nigerian will devour the 3-0 a couple of times, but he will remain a thorn in the side for the Tuscan third line.
In the moment in which Napoli is in control, however, Mario Rui’s vein swells and in a hard contrast with Caputo, falling, he raises his leg to hit the opponent. Ayroldi, recalled by Var Fabbri, expels the Portuguese full-back. Spalletti is forced to redesign his team with a 4-3-2 formation in which Elmas now plays alongside Osimhen while Olivera enters defence. But nothing to do for Empoli this Naples is not “tender” like last April that saw them come back two goals losing 3-2 in the final.
February 25, 2023 (change February 25, 2023 | 8:00 PM)
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