Witness the complete playback and highlight of the Napoli vs Empoli match.
The game commences at 11:30 (GMT) on 12th November 2023
The appointed referee for this event is A. Prontera
Contest hosted at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona
Behold a clash in Italy – Serie A, Week 12, Season 2023/2024
Napoli vs Empoli Full Match Reports
Viktor Kovalenko’s extraordinary strike in the 91st minute sent shockwaves through the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona as underdogs Empoli secured an unexpected 1-0 victory over Napoli. This stunning result leaves Napoli trailing the league leaders by a significant eight-point margin.
Napoli had shown signs of improvement under Rudi Garcia, but their recent 1-1 draw against 1. FC Union Berlin in the UEFA Champions League raised questions about their consistency. The pressure mounted for Garcia, making the clash against 19th-place Empoli a crucial match to appease the Italian media heading into the international break.
The first half saw Napoli come close to breaking the deadlock, with Matteo Politano forcing a save from goalkeeper Etrit Berisha and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s header being denied. Napoli thought they had taken the lead with Giovanni Simeone’s close-range finish, but the goal was disallowed for offside, although replays indicated a clear margin between the striker and the last defender. Empoli, despite their attacking struggles prior to the match, also had their moments, with Matteo Cancellieri and Filippo Ranocchia threatening the Napoli goal.
With Victor Osimhen injured, Garcia made a surprising decision to leave Khvicha Kvaratskhelia on the bench. However, as the second half progressed without a breakthrough, Kvaratskhelia was eventually introduced and came close to scoring, testing Berisha from a tight angle and forcing a save with a low drive.
However, Empoli had the final say in an enthralling encounter. In the dying moments of the match, Kovalenko received Tyronne Ebuehi’s pass and executed a sensational first-time strike into the far corner, beating the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini via the post. The ecstatic Empoli side held on to secure a remarkable victory, only their second in 15 away matches.
This defeat raises doubts about Garcia’s future at Napoli, especially with a demanding fixture against Atalanta on the horizon. If Inter Milan triumph over Frosinone later in the day, Napoli could find themselves a substantial ten points adrift from the top spot, a concerning decline considering their 16-point advantage over Lazio last season.
Etrit Berisha’s exceptional performance between the Empoli goalposts earned him the well-deserved Man of the Match title.