Empoli see off 10-man Crotone

Empoli picked up their first win of the Serie A campaign at the third attempt after recording a 2-1 victory over fellow stragglers Crotone at Stadio Carlo Castellani on Monday evening.

The hosts started the encounter on the front foot and created several good chances in the opening half-hour.

Massimo Maccarone saw his speculative long-range effort kept out by Crotone keeper Alex Cordaz in the 11th minute, before Riccardo Saponara fired just inches wide of the left-hand post.

Later efforts from Andrés Tello and Manuel Pucciarelli were also denied by Cordaz as Empoli continued to pile on the pressure.

The pressure finally took its toll on the Crotone defence in the 31st minute, Giuseppe Bellusci heading home from the centre of the box after Manuel Pasqual had sent an inviting cross into the danger area.

However, just when it seemed that the hosts would go into the half-time break with a slender lead, Mario Sampirisi popped up in the first minute of injury time to head home from Marcus Rohden's inswinging cross.

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Crotone very nearly claimed the lead four minutes into the second half, but Raffaele Palladino was unable to find the mark with an effort from the left side of the box.

And Palladino was made to rue that missed chance as Empoli went on to reclaim the lead in the 56th minute, Andrea Costa heading into the bottom-left corner from close range.

The goal sparked a reaction from Crotone, who threatened to draw level through efforts from Palladino and Marcello Trotta.

Any hopes of a comeback were extinguished in the 80th minute, however, when Noe Dussenne picked up his second yellow card of the evening following a foul on Guido Marilungo.

Dussenne's sending off gave the hosts the breathing room they needed as 10-man Croton failed to make an impact in the remaining minutes.

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