Kalinic brace rescues Fiorentina against Empoli

Published 11/23/2015, 2:28 AM EST
Football Soccer – Fiorentina v Empoli – Italian Serie A – Artemio Franchi stadium, Florence, Italy 22/11/15Nikola Kalinic of Fiorentina celebrates after scoring a goal against EmpoliREUTERS/Giampiero Sposito


MILAN (Reuters) – Substitute Nikola Kalinic scored twice in five minutes and then hit the crossbar as he rescued a 2-2 draw for Serie A title challengers Fiorentina at home to lowly Empoli on Sunday after they had trailed 2-0.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Vincenzo Montella made a losing start as coach of Sampdoria, who went down 1-0 at Udinese, and Davide Ballardini, starting a second stint in charge of Palermo, saw the Sicilians held 1-1 at Lazio.

There was an amazing finish at Genoa where Francesco Acerbi scored in the 94th minute for visitors Sassuolo to make it 1-1, only for Leonardo Pavoletti to win it for the hosts almost immediately. Both teams had a player sent off in the first half.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Fiorentina’s draw left them level at the top with Napoli, who earlier won 2-0 at Verona with second-half goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Gonzalo Higuain.

Both have 28 points, one ahead of Inter Milan who were at home to Frosinone in the evening (1945 GMT).

Empoli got off to a flying start as Marko Livaja fired home from Riccardo Saponara’s pass in the 19th minute and Liechtenstein international Marcel Buechel scored with a long-range effort eight minutes later.

The visitors could easily have gone three ahead as Saponara fired over the bar and then had a strong penalty appeal waved away.

The game changed dramatically in the second half after Fiorentina brought on Croatia forward Kalinic who reduced the arrears with a header in the 56th minute and turned in Khouma Babacar’s pass to level just after the hour.

In a dramatic finale, Kalinic hit the crossbar and saw another effort blocked by Lukasz Skorupski who also made a superb save in stoppage time to turn away Matias Vecino’s long-range shot.

Emmanuel Badu’s first half goal for Udinese ensured a losing start for new Sampdoria coach Montella, whose predecessor Walter Zenga was fired after only 14 matches. The visitors also had Ervin Zukanovic given a straight red card.

Ballardini made his Palermo debut against Lazio, where he spent an unhappy six months in 2009-10, and saw defender Edoardo Goldaniga give the Sicilians a first-half lead before Antonio Candreva levelled with a second-half penalty for Lazio.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Tempers flared just before halftime in Genoa when Sassuolo’s temperamental striker Domenico Berardi was sent off for a wild kick at Cristian Anseldi and Diego Perotti was dismissed for the hosts as he also got involved.

Venezuela midfielder Tomas Rincon put Genoa ahead with a curling effort early in the second half before an astonishing finale.

Acerbi levelled with a rebound four minutes into stoppage time but Sassuolo had barely finished celebrating when Pavoletti headed in Genoa’s winner.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Two early goals from Roberto Inglese and Riccardo Meggiorini gave Chievo a 2-1 win at Carpi and Torino won 1-0 at Atalanta thanks to Cesare Bovo’s volley in the afternoon’s other games.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; editing by Justin Palmer)

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Dhruv George

12016 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT