Napoli-Empoli 0-1, goal from Kovalenko: Rudi Garcia sinks, coach at risk

The Italian champions were knocked out at home and slipped to -8 from the top

Napoli are defeated at home by Empoli, who win 1-0 today 12 November at the Maradona stadium in the match valid for the 12th matchday of the 2023-2024 Serie A. The Italian champions coached by Rudi Garcia were hit late on by Kovalenko, who scored in the 91st minute. Napoli remains at 22 points, -8 behind leaders Juventus awaiting the Inter-Frosinone match. Empoli rises to 10 points.

The match

Compared to the match won against Salernitana, Garcia makes some changes, giving a rest to Kvaratskhelia and Zielinski and inserting Simeone as the sole striker: in support a trident with Elmas, Raspadori and Politano. Last minute forfeit by Meret in the warm-up and Gollini plays in goal instead of him. Andreazzoli also changes something in his starting 11 compared to the defeat against Frosinone. In defense there is Cacace, while he inserts Ranocchia in midfield. In attack there is Cambiaghi with Cancellieri and Caputo.

Napoli’s start is important and in the 11th minute there is an exchange between Di Lorenzo and Politano, a cross from the captain on which Berisha is imperfect but Enmpoli is saved. A minute passes and Politano tries from the edge but Berisha surpasses himself and deflects it into a corner. The same Empoli goalkeeper repeats himself in the 13th minute on Anguissa who heads over and smashes with a sure shot, but the goalkeeper saves the goal with a super intervention. After Napoli’s outburst, Andreazzoli’s team takes the field and in the 23rd minute Fazzini serves Cancellieri who hooks with his right and immediately finishes with his left but the ball ends up just to the right of the post. Napoli takes the lead in the 27th minute: following a free kick from Politano, Ostigard finds himself with the ball at his feet and serves Simeone who beats Berisha on the way out but from an offside position and the goal is annulled after the VAR control.

The Tuscan team, however, did not retreat and in the 29th minute they almost took the lead with Ranocchia who fired a volley from the center of the area, but failed to find the target. Napoli goalkeeper Gollini overtakes himself shortly afterwards. In the 35th minute Cambiaghi tries with a left foot at the near post, but the Italian goalkeeper with a great reflex deflects it for a corner. Napoli fails to score without finding great continuity.

At the beginning of the second half, Garcia’s team immediately tries to blitz. In the 47th minute Elmas takes center stage and serves Politano who shoots with first intention but sends the ball over the crossbar. Garcia changes and inserts Kvaratskhelia and Zielinski. The Georgian begins his show in the 60th minute. He flies to the left, aims for Bereszynski, and tries a right but is blocked. Napoli, however, discovered themselves looking for the advantage and took a risk in the 67th minute‘ but Ostigard did well to close on an excellent dribble restart from Empoli.

Maradona pushes the Azzurri forward and in the 75th minute Kvaratskhelia attracts three opponents on the left and serves Lindstrom, who has just entered, but the right-footed shot from the edge is deflected again by Berisha for a corner. The hosts did not hold back and in the 79th minute they came close to taking the lead again. Kvaratskhelia settles the ball and looks for a sudden shot but the Empoli goalkeeper is still good at saving near the intersection. Berisha performs yet another miracle in the 89th minute: following a free kick, the ball lands at the feet of Kvaratskhelia who crosses with a left foot but the goalkeeper saves with his foot in hockey style. In the 91st minute the insult came for Napoli with a Eurogoal from the Ukrainian player from Empoli Kovalenko who from an impossible position invents a right-footed shot that goes over Gollini, and ends up in the net in the corner, giving the Tuscan team the three points.