The draw would have qualified the Nerazzurri, but at the end of extra time Manfredi’s 3-2 goal makes Buscé’s Tuscans scream with joy
Atalanta-Inter had been the final of the 2018-19 Primavera championship, decided by a goal from the Gambian striker of Bergamo Ebrima Colley, and up to 120 ‘of today’s semifinal everything was ready for repetition (after Covid had blew the finals): then Empoli, in the fray of desperation, with the goalkeeper in the opposing area also to jump, slipped the goal of 3-2, eliminating the very favorite Inter, who had led 2-1 for more than half match, but ended up in extra time in 9 against 11.
And to think that Armando Madonna’s team would have had enough of a draw to access the final act: they had closed the group in first place (shared with Sampdoria, first for the detached classification, and Juventus, third), Empoli was sixth, and from rules in the semifinals no penalties are taken, after the extra time passes the team that did best in the regular season. Outside Rome and Juventus in the first round, Sampdoria and Inter between yesterday and today: the first six qualified for the second phase, which began Wednesday at the Enzo Ricci stadium in Sassuolo. They will be the fifth and sixth to compete for the championship.
back and forth
After 12 ‘Empoli ahead: captain Donati’s cue on the right, a ball to Lipari who asks Baldanzi for the triangle, who puts him in front of the goal, for an easy and winning conclusion. In the first half hour, the Tuscans held the pitch very well, then, suddenly, Inter accelerated and turned the situation around. At 34 ‘shot by Oristanio, parade by Hvalic, the Argentine Vezzoni takes the ball back, soft cross with the left, in the center of the area there is the other outside midfield, Zanotti, who is a short, but jumps well with his head and beats the Slovenian goalkeeper of the Tuscans. Which is decisive less than a minute later, when Satriano tries to dribble him, and he touches the ball: the Uruguayan at that point goes to the bottom and puts in the middle, Oristanio goes to the shot, countered. The action continues, again Satriano at the conclusion, ball on the bottom. But the goal is in the air, and in the 37th minute it arrives: lateral foul, Casadei’s header, Vezzoni comes out again at the far post, left-footed counterbalance and 2-1. Stankovic denies the equalizer to Lipari, stretching to deflect his right, on the occasion the attacker injures his ankle: in his place Bozhanaj, who will be decisive. In the recovery, another good intervention by Stankovic on Ekong, served by a valuable starting point on the left of Fazzini. In the second half, Emmanuel Ekong – Swedish born in Reggio Emilia, because his father, a former Nigerian international, played there in 2002 – tries again, the defensive closure of the gigantic Kinkoue was decisive.
At 13 ‘from the end Buscè unbalances his team by removing the midfielder Belardinelli for the striker Martini, who is put down to the limit: the Albanian Asllani, specialist in set pieces, who shortly before had sent high (not by much on the crossbar), and this time he kicks at the near post, from an angled position, with the barrier that opens wide and betrays Stankovic, who sees the ball when it is already in the net. We go to extra time, and the little jewel Baldanzi, one of the 2003 class most used this year in the category, hits the post after 2 ‘, with a right-footed rebound. Knowing that the regulation would be out, Empoli tries to push: Asslani wastes a couple of opportunities, the third, on a free kick, is rejected by the barrier in the heart of the area, with the Tuscans asking for Kinkoue’s hand foul (skipped with his arm up, but the ball hits the shoulder). Foul procured by Bozhanaj, which costs Sottini the second yellow card: for Inter with the man less it is an abundant quarter of an hour of great suffering, with full-back Persyn who takes the place of the bomber Satriano, Lindkvist who misses the ball of victory in the 118th minute, and the two fouls in the same action (left to continue for the advantage) that cost the director Sangalli the red. With time expired, when the games seem to be done, Bozhanaj frees himself on the left, puts in the middle, and Manfredi, a Tuscan striker who arrived in the summer from Atalanta, who this year had played very little and without ever scoring, is ready, almost on the line, to push on the net. And the bench of the Tuscans explodes with joy: Buscè and Biagini, coach and second goalkeeper, take the red card, before the final whistle.
June 27, 2021 (change June 27, 2021 | 21:33)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED