Thursday, April 18, 2024

Fabbian wins it at death for Bologna


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Florence, March 16: Giovanni Fabbian struck right at the death for Bologna away to Empoli in Serie A on Friday evening, delivering a cruel blow to Davide Nicola and his side, who had looked set to earn a hard-fought draw against the Champions League chasers at the Castellani Stadium.
Bologna came into the tie ranked fourth in the Serie A standings, despite having tasted defeat to league leaders Inter last weekend. Thiago Motta had guided the Rossoblu to a six-game winning streak in the league before then. Empoli, meanwhile, had lost two on the spin coming into Friday evening’s game, losing to Milan and Cagliari in their last two league games.
Bologna had to do without leading goalscorer Joshua Zirkzee on this occasion. The Dutchman is expected to be out of action for three to four weeks after suffering a set-back last weekend. Jens Odgaard was called up to replace him in the starting line-up. Though lacking in clear and obvious opportunities, it was Bologna who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening exchanges. Empoli’s Elia Caprile did very well to keep the scores level, producing a fine double-save shortly after an Alexis Saelemaekers corner on the 18th minute.
Kacper Urbanski had another go from a set-piece for Bologna 10 minutes after, but was also denied by Caprile, who had a marginally easier task this time around.
The finest chance for either side fell to Empoli’s M’Baye Niang with three minutes of regular time in the first half left to play. He was released by Nicolo Cambiaghi on the half-way line, with every Bologna outfielder camped in the opposition half.
Niang, unopposed, carried the ball right up to the edge of the Bologna area, where he inexplicably failed to get a shot away, allowing Sam Beukema back in to make a crucial sliding challenge, which resulted in an Empoli corner. (Agencies)


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