Serie A Saturday Action Recap: Nightmarish Debut For Thiago Motta

Saturday’s Serie A action did not see any of Italy’s top clubs ply their trade but still produced some dramatic moments. Well that’s not if you’re Marco Giampaolo, who could be on the verge of losing his job following another abysmal result for Sampdoria.

Let’s take a look at everything that happened in Serie A today.

Thiago Motta left fuming as Empoli sink Bologna

Empoli claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara to spoil Thiago Motta’s touchline debut at Bologna and steer themselves close to mid-table comforts. 

After the sacking of Sinisa Mihajlovic, the Rossoblu pulled off a 2-1 home triumph over Fiorentina to prepare themselves for Motta’s takeover, but they faltered yet again on Saturday.

Seeking their first Serie A win at Dall’Ara since December 2015, Empoli put on a stubborn display in the first half to hold off the home side’s effort to break the deadlock early.

In a frantic first half, full-packed with flying tackles and rough challenges, neither side managed to create much in the front third, with imprecision and a hectic midfield battle ensuring the share of the spoils at the break.

Bologna flew out of the traps early in the second half, pushing the numbers forward and orchestrating several half chances, albeit struggled for the final touch. 

Motta’s men were also denied a penalty following a VAR intervention, which eventually proved a turning point as Empoli regrouped their troops and fought back.

Paolo Zanetti’s side took advantage of a rare opportunity as Filippo Bandinelli sent visiting fans into ecstatic celebration 15 minutes from time with the easiest of tap-ins. 

Bologna came close to putting things back to square one moments later, but Marko Arnautovic’s header was cleared off the line, leaving the home supporters in despair.

Spezia back to winning was as Giampaolo faces sacking 

In pursuit of their first Serie A win since the opening weekend, Spezia edged out struggling Sampdoria 2-1 at the Stadio Alberto Picco, putting visiting manager Giampaolo in an awkward spot. 

Things didn’t look good for Luca Gotti’s side when Abdelhamid Sabiri hit a spectacular shot into the top right corner from distance to hand the visitors an early lead. 

However, Spezia restored parity only a minute later as Jeison Murillo fumbled the ball into his own net while trying to intercept a cross across the face of goal.

The scoreline remained the same at halftime despite Sampdoria’s attempts to regain the lead in a desperate bid to land their first Serie A win of the season.

It went from bad to worse for La Samp in the 72nd minute when talismanic striker M’Bala Nzola fired in a volley from the edge of the six-yard box to turn the game on its head.

Left in the relegation zone with just two points from seven matches, Sampdoria face an uphill task to pick themselves up from a horrendous Serie A start.

There’s a feeling that Giampaolo won’t be there to help them bounce back when Serie A returns to action after the international break.

Sassuolo win it at the death in Turin

Agustin Alvarez scored a last-gasp winner to hand Sassuolo a narrow 1-0 win away to Torino in an otherwise uneventful affair at the Stadio Olimpico di Torino.

Arguably the least exciting match-up on Saturday took place at Torino’s home ground as neither side showed anything worth noting to entertain the crowd until the final seconds.

Following a 1-0 defeat at Inter last time out, Ivan Juric’s men were keen to get back to winning ways and claw their way back into the European qualification race but to no avail.

With both teams predominantly oriented toward keeping a clean sheet, it’s no big surprise neither goalkeeper had much to do for most of the match. 

But Alvarez headed home a delightful cross from Rogerio in the 93rd minute to give Sassuolo their first league win since August and move them back to mid-table.