A second-half goal by midfielder Tommaso Baldanzi on Monday earned Empoli a surprise 1-0 win over 10-man Inter in Serie A, ending Simone Inzaghi side’s seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.
Empoli, whose previous victory against the Nerazzurri was in April 2006, moved up to ninth place on 25 points from 19 games. Inter remained third on 37 points, one point behind second-placed AC Milan, who were to travel to SS Lazio yesterday.
“In the first half hour we did great things, we had courage and zero fear,” Empoli coach Paolo Zanetti told DAZN. “Winning at the San Siro is a dream and my players managed to make it come true.”
Inter, who hammered rivals AC Milan 3-0 to win the Italian Supercoppa on Wednesday last week, were left with 10 men when captain Milan Skriniar was sent off five minutes before halftime. He was shown a second yellow card after his boot reached Francesco Caputo’s neck.
Empoli forward Nicolo Cambiaghi was close to causing an early surprise at the San Siro when he received a lofted pass on the edge of Inter’s penalty area and struck from close range, but was denied by goalkeeper Andre Onana.
The visitors squandered another chance five minutes later when striker Caputo’s strike went just wide of the left post.
Inter also went close to scoring, but midfielder Federico Dimarco’s first-time strike from a tight angle was blocked by Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, while Lautaro Martinez sent his close-range shot just above the bar.
Empoli continued to create chances in the second half and found the back of the net in the 66th minute through Baldanzi after a counterattack.
The 19-year-old substitute sent a powerful low shot to beat Onana, who failed to stop the ball despite going the right way with his acrobatic dive.
Inter’s Edin Dzeko could have leveled nine minutes later, but his first-time effort from inside the penalty area went wide of the left post.
Defender Stefan de Vrij hit the bar with a header shortly afterward.
Inzaghi blamed the defeat on being a man down for more than 50 minutes and dismissed suggestions that the victory celebrations following their Supercoppa triumph impacted their preparations for the match.
“The numerical inferiority has done a lot [of damage]. Perhaps [if we had 11 [players on the pitch] things would have changed,” Inzaghi said. “Excessive celebrations after the Supercoppa? In reality they were very restricted because as soon as we got back, we trained right away.”
Earlier on Monday, Bologna drew 1-1 at home with bottom-placed US Cremonese.
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