Empoli will face Verona at Stadio Castellani in a match in which neither team has much motivation.
On the one hand we have one of the surprises of this season, who have almost achieved the Serie A salvation. On the other hand, we have the team which will probably finish the league last, becoming relegated to Serie B.
Empoli seemed to move in the right direction thanks to the organisation of their play, shaped by the knowing Coach Marco Giampaolo. Nevertheless, from the middle of January, the Azzurri have achieved only one win during the last fourteen fixtures. Precisely two weeks ago, against Paulo Sousa’s Fiorentina in the Tuscany Derby at Stadio Castellani, they achieved their first home win over the Viola in the last thirty years. The Azzurri managed to undermine their work on Sunday against Lazio at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico.
Ready for his second starting appearance in a row, Empoli’s 26-year-old goalkeeper Alberto Pelagotti said to Radio Lady “We want to demonstrate that the defeat against Lazio was only a coincidence. My emotions after the debut are very strong, playing at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico was great”.
At the moment they have almost reached Serie A salvation since they are 9 points clear of Frosinone, who are third-bottom. Empoli central Midfielder Daniele Croce told Radio Lady “If we think that the fixture against Verona will be easy we risk a poor showing. We must secure salvation”.
For the visitors, the fixture against Frosinone at Stadio Bentegodi was realistically the last chance for Serie A salvation, because it represented an important head to head battle. Roberto Stellone’s men won thanks to a last minute goal scored by the 33-year-old midfielder Alessandro Frara. The Scaligeri could have been six points behind Carpi, fourth-bottom, but at the end of the fixture the gap was nine. Luigi Del Neri, Verona coach told Sky Sport “Our supporters deserve Serie A. I’m sorry for this result because it seals our relegation, even if not mathematically”.
Verona general manager Riccardo Bigon said to the gialloblù’s official website “The club is strong and solid. At the end of the season our President will talk about the situation and, in regard to the next season, he will try to bring the team to Serie A as soon as possible.”.
Keep an eye on: Massimo Maccarone (Empoli) – Born in 1979 in Galliate, near Novara, this Empoli striker is enjoying a second youth with Azzurri. His scoring record in Serie A is 13 goals during the 2007/08 season with Siena. He has 11 this term, and surely will try to reach that amount and – why not – pass it.
Form Guide: Empoli (L W L D D) Verona (L L W L D)
Last season: Verona 2-1 Empoli
Stat fact: These matches don’t tend to be high-scoring affairs – to find more than three goals in a game between these two sides, you’d have to go back to a 2011 Serie B match.
Empoli (4-4-2): Pelagotti; Bittante, Tonelli, Cota, Mário Rui; Zieliński, Paredes, Croce, Saponara; Pucciarelli, Maccarone.
Verona (4-4-2): Gollini; Pisano, Bianchetti, Moras, Souprayen; Wszołek, Ioniță, Viviani, Emanuelson; Pazzini, Toni.
Published in Football Italia on 19/04/2016.