Marquee
1.8K
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6.6K
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about 15 years
The good news about Italian football is that it doesn't take much for supporters to start cheering again. I didn't watch the game so I don't know the full context other than the fact that Empoli lost, however I think their supporters should be pretty happy overall. Other than a decent spell in the early 2000s, whenever they have been in Serie A, they always struggled to stay up. And it looks like they'd have to commit harakiri to go down this season. 
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Cacace will be a bunch of nerves. Starting debut for Empoli (13th) verus Juve (4th)!!
https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/02/26/italy/serie-a/empoli-fc/juventus-fc/3558499/

Marking up against Brazilian Danilo, & Colombian Cuadrado! Holy fudge.

In the big time now Libby. Go well son, go well.

Juve did have a midweek UCL game at Villarreal, so hopefully they are a bit fatigued.
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
So subbed off at 70th min, as one of 3 subs made with Empoli 1-3 down.
Final score a 2-3 loss.

Anyone see the game? See that Sofascore gave Libby a 6.2.
I'm sure his parents had some proud tears in Petone, watching the game.

Juve stay 4th. Empoli 13th

Highlights. Unfortunately sound only kicks in at 3 min mark. Empoli in blue. Libby number 21. Out of position for Juve's 2nd goal, after a team mate made a bad pass near half way. And for 3rd Juve goal looks like he veered in for a moment when tracking back, when would have been better to stay wide on Vlahović, but was a lovely first touch from the Serb on the run.
https://hohofot.elhighlights.com/embed/6O3IsueCgPR19
Marquee
1.8K
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6.6K
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about 15 years
Famous Italian website TuttoMercatoWeb gave Libby a 5 with the following comment:
First start for the New Zealander of Italian origins. He has his work cut out with Cuadrado who forced him to defend a lot and when they came up in one on ones, he struggled. He does not squeeze on Kean on the occasion of the 1-0 Juventus goal, also late on Vlahovic’s third goal.

I didn't watch the game but I don't think the two goals were fully his fault otherwise he wouldn't have got a 5.
Juve in his second game was always going to be a struggle. These are character building experiences. A 3-2 loss is more than honourable.
We knew (he knew) that he needs to improve his defensive game. Playing for Empoli in Serie A will help with that for sure. 
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
On a side note see Juve's Polish keeper Szczęsny along with Bayern's Lewandowski, support their National Federation's decision to pull out of Qatar WC qualification playoff game verus Russia. Good stuff.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/world-game/300527647/poland-sweden-refuse-to-play-russia-in-world-cup-football-playoffs
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
From Flying Kiwis. Slightly surreal.

Phoenix Academy
170
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420
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over 13 years
Tough ask for anyone but obviously shows a level of faith in him, hopefully plenty more opportunities to come
Legend
3K
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12K
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over 14 years
It looked like Juve exploited the space between FBs who pushed a bit further forward and CBs quite successfully. The highlights show a lot of him sprinting back after they lose possession to cover. 
Starting XI
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2.2K
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over 6 years
I saw the second half. Libby certainly pushed very high, which will suit him, but as mentioned above he spent a lot of time tracking back. Juventus mostly sat back after they scored their third and let Empoli press on, but Juve's counter attack was very smooth and they still caused Empoli issues. Empoli scored a nice goal after Libby went off after a ball into the box delivered by his replacement Parisi, who was wearing shirt number 65 for some reason and looked a very tricky attacking fullback.

Cant speak to the first 2 goals as they were first half. Arguably could've done better on the third goal, but I doubt he was expecting Vlahovic to have such a magical touch - the ball was played well behind him and he did well to hook it from straight into stride, Libby could well have had him with any touch that wasn't absolutely perfect but damn Vlahovic looks a player. 

All in all, he could've done better, he could've done worse. As far as starting debuts vs Juventus go I don't think he'll be unhappy and he'll only be better for the experience. I wouldn't be surprised if he's behind Parisi in the pecking order, not sure what their other LB options are.
WeeNix
760
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760
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almost 13 years
A New Zealander started a Serie A match.  Against Juventus.  On merit.  These are words I never thought I'd get to write - Bravo Libby.  May there be many many more matches in your Calcio career.

And not to downplay his achievement in the slightest, as it is phenomenal - but I really can't help thinking about what Wynton Rufer was able to achieve 3 decades ago.  Libby plays in an age of global coverage, elite scouting, forensic sports science, and has seized his opportunity within a very demanding environment - full credit to him.  Rufer came from club football in New Zealand, ground his way through the European professional game, won an elite European cup competition, a national title in one of the world's best leagues, and was joint top scorer in the Champions League.  And we saw almost none of it on TV until SKY came on the scene late in his career (and no internet back then).  Cacace is an excellent player who could go on to be one of our best ever - but Rufer will forever be from another planet, blazing a trail in a way we'll never see again.  Would've loved to see them both in the same All Whites team...
Marquee
1.8K
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6.6K
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about 15 years
Unused sub in a 0-0 draw at Genoa
RR
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Bossi Insider
4.9K
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29K
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almost 14 years
RR
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Bossi Insider
4.9K
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29K
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almost 14 years
Libby starts, SS7 at 8:45am
WeeNix
760
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760
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almost 13 years
Seeing him as they pan that lineup - don't care if I sound soft, this is tear-in-the-eye stuff.  Bravo!!
WeeNix
760
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760
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almost 13 years
he's done OK first half, Milan piling on the pressure across the park
Life and death
1.8K
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5.1K
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about 15 years
So great watching him today, who would of thought we would have a starter in Serie A?
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Khalil Media
he's done OK first half, Milan piling on the pressure across the park

Subbed off at 63 mins (1 of 3 subs made), with league leaders AC Milan up 1-0. Score stays that way. Ibrahimović came on in the 83rd min for Milan.

https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/03/12/italy/serie-a/ac-milan/empoli-fc/3558522/

Empoli 13th.
Starting XI
2.1K
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4.7K
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almost 10 years
Thought he did well. Only saw the first 25 mins though.

Made his passes and tackles with more of the attack coming down their RB's flank. 

He never really looked to get too far forward which was a shame, but I suspect that was tactical as much as anything.
Phoenix Academy
210
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360
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over 7 years
He did well. Strong defensively. Pushed forward when he needed to without exposing the CBs. Clearly tactical. Was composed in tight situations. I was impressed. Physically and athletically matched them - now it’s just a case of getting used to the pace and technique of those top wingers. 

Anyway- dream stuff. Amazing how well the crop of u20’s has done in the last couple of years. And I sense in 3 years time they’ll be even better.. 
One in a million
2.7K
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8.7K
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about 15 years
The highlight was seeing him tackle an attacker and then nutmeg him before carrying the ball upfield!
First Team Squad
1.1K
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1.6K
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over 12 years
MetalLegNZ
Thought he did well. Only saw the first 25 mins though.

Made his passes and tackles with more of the attack coming down their RB's flank. 

He never really looked to get too far forward which was a shame, but I suspect that was tactical as much as anything.
Saw the last 20, spent a lot of time in acres of space but the ball wasn't finding him all that much when Empoli was attacking. Made one mistake when he sheparded a winger inside onto his stronger foot who then had a decent shot, but was solid defensively outside of that. 

Had a couple of the types of runs you'd expect where he skins his first man but looked to pass rather than getting any further forward. At one point he made a tackle then nutmegged the recovering attacker, boosted past him and the incoming AC Milan midfielder and laid off a decent pass.
Legend
3K
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12K
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over 14 years
Oi Oi Edgecumbe
The highlight was seeing him tackle an attacker and then nutmeg him before carrying the ball upfield!

Yep, that was his best moment and if it had happened earlier maybe the manager might have given him more time! 
I think it happened moments before his substitution.
But two weeks at your new club and you’ve played Milan and Juventus, and started at the San Siro. I don’t think most of our back yard or park dream games were that good!
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
From Flying Kiwis. I think the only Kiwis that had played at the San Siro previously were the All Blacks.
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Subbed on late in the 86th min as Empoli (13th) draw 1-1 with Verona (10th). Same score when he came on. 

Off to Qatar.

Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Full game in a 1-0 loss at Fiorentina (8th)

Empoli (14th) down to 10 men from 57th min, and concede a min later
 
https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/04/03/italy/serie-a/acf-fiorentina/empoli-fc/3558539/



Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Unused sub as Empoli (14th) draw 0-0 at home with Spezia (15th)
First Team Squad
1K
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1.5K
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over 3 years
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Ranix
Starting  Empoli V Cagliari
Rotation continues at LB. Libbys turn.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/FQdlGkrXMAIwfMF?format=jpg&name=large

Full game in a 4-1 loss. Empoli (14th), still 12 pts clear of the drop zone, with 5 games left, so looking safe for a mid table finish.
https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/04/16/italy/serie-a/udinese-calcio/empoli-fc/3558567/

Garbett's Torino play later today against Lazio. Interesting to see if he is in the match day squad again.

Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
From Flying Kiwis. Seems awhile since we read about Libby.
https://theniche-cache.com/football/2022/4/19/flying-kiwis-april-19

Liberato Cacace doing his thing in Serie A, rocking that Empoli jersey as he does every second week. It was his turn again as Empoli travelled to face Udinese. Cacace at left-back. Empoli seeking to address their blatant lack of wins in recent months. And unfortunately they conceded an own goal in just the seventh minute of the match as Ardian Ismajli hacked a cross into his own net.
Other than that it was okay. Empoli had some solid possession and Cacace clearly had a directive to play higher up the pitch than he has in recent weeks, not holding back as a consolidatory passing option but really trying to push the Udinese wide men deeper.

However this is an Empoli team with very limited attacking success of late and the two men up front mostly just wanted to go in-off thus not a lot was happening. We got some good defensive stuff from Cacace but the ball wasn’t really going his way in attack. The Azzurri simply not patient enough.

Udinese weren’t creating much either to be fair, though they did have that gift of a lead which took the pressure off them and in the 52nd minute old mate Gerard Deulofeu smacked in a second from 22 yards, low and hard, to really assert things. Empoli frustrations were clear, even leading to some biffo as Roberto Pereyra went down injured in the area with a few Empoli players not taking it too kindly (he was subbed off so no faking). Libby was amongst those yarning with the ref.

Then came a lifeline. 66 mins gone. Andrea La Mantia was clipped in the area for Empoli trying to recover a ball moving with his back to goal for a soft but completely unnecessary foul. Andrea Pinamonti stepped up to take the penalty... and missed. But Filippo Bandinelli got there (just ahead of Cacace) to tap in the seconds. However there was encroachment so they made Pinamonti take it again and this time he scored directly. Got there in the end. Immediately Empoli went to the bench with Cacace’s LB double Fabiano Parisi readied to enter the game... but for once it wasn’t for Cacace. Parisi went on further forward and the pair got to share the pitch for the first time.

Regrettably, Ignacio Pussetto finished one off for Udinese after a sharp give and go on 79’ to restore the two-goal lead and then Lazar Samardzic put the polish on near the end. 4-1 to Udi the final score. Empoli, incredibly, have still not won a game in 2022. 16 league games in a row without a three-pointer meaning that Cacace has still not yet experienced a win. Last time they won was a 1-0 away result against his hometown Napoli club back in mid-December... and as it happens they’re playing Napoli next. 

It’s Cacace’s turn to be on the bench for that one but maybe he’ll sneak on as a sub to so as to get a game against his boyhood club. Surely gotta have some sentimentality at this stage of the season, there’s little else to play for.
Legend
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12K
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about 7 years
On the bench against the club he grew up supporting - Napoli (3rd). Empoli 14th

Some happy tears back in Petone, if he gets on
First Team Squad
1.1K
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1.5K
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almost 15 years
Comes on 2-0 down after 60 mins.

Empoli end up winning 3-2 with goals at 80, 83, 87. Crazy stuff! Didn't watch so not sure if he was involved in the goals or not!
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
siac
Comes on 2-0 down after 60 mins.

Empoli end up winning 3-2 with goals at 80, 83, 87. Crazy stuff! Didn't watch so not sure if he was involved in the goals or not!

Libby no 21. Pre assist for the first goal.

Empoli used all 5 subs by 70 mins. So late flood of 3 goals came with all 5 subs on. Mixed feelings in Petone! But I'm sure his parents very proud.

https://football-italia.net/serie-a-highlights-empoli-3-2-napoli/

With a win Napoli would have gone within 1 point of AC Milan (2nd) and 2 points Inter (1st), so a disaster implosion for them.

Next for Empoli a potential Kiwi Serie A derby, verus Torino.
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
From this week's Flying Kiwis.

Libby Cacace’s love for the Napoli football club is a thing of legend in the kiwi football community. There aren’t that many players who make it to the pro levels still holding onto that boyhood passion but when you’re born into an Italian immigrant family living in Aotearoa for whom supporting Napoli might as well be part of the DNA... those things run deeper.  On Monday morning NZT he found himself playing against them. Incredible.


Interesting point is that Napoli were actually the last team that Empoli beat in Serie A. Got them with a 1-0 win back in mid-December but that’s been followed with 15 winless league games ever since. Even the signing of Liberato Cacace hasn’t changed that (yet).

With half an hour to go, as Cacace was subbed on alongside Liam Henderson (a Scottish attacking midfielder who Cacace seems to get on really well with – probably stemming from a shared propensity for the English language), it looked as though 15 would become 16 with Napoli leading 2-0. Andrea Pinamonti had missed a great chance for Empoli with a header in the third minute and the visitors eventually made them pay for that as Dries Mertens scored on 44’ thanks to a slick late run into the area and a finish that Empoli GK Vicario couldn’t quite get enough of a hand onto. Then Lorenzo Insigne doubled that lead on 53’ polishing off after a cheap Empoli concession in the midfield. Another one of those days.

Parisi didn’t look too happy to be replaced - this was actually the earliest that Cacace has been introduced when he’s begun a game on the bench. It proved a timely injection of energy with Libby’s fresh legs carrying him on a few rapid overlaps including one where he whipped in a super-looking cross that only narrowly avoided the lunge of Patrick Cutrone. Definitely some life left in Empoli despite the scoreline and despite their poor attacking form. Napoli may have been leading but they were far at from their best.

With ten minutes to go Empoli pulled one back. Liam Henderson with a driven low finish after Cacace had squared the ball from the left to Nedim Bajrami who was tackled but the ball fell to Hendo on the right edge in space. Napoli had conceded a stoppage time equaliser to 10-man Roma last week so the tension instantly rose with that goal. Empoli quickly got back on the attack and Bajrami blasted a wonderful opportunity over the bar from about 12 yards out... but after the resulting goal kick the Napoli keeper lingered on the ball too long and Pinamonto charged him down for the equaliser.

Napoli are trying to hang in a title race so they came back hard at Empoli. Cacace made a crucial recovering challenge to take the ball off Victor Osimhen and away for a corner before the Nigerian striker could get a shot away in the box. Several rapid back-stick crosses were dealt with. Then Empoli made a break up the right wing and Bajrami delivered a superb early ball across for that man Pinamonti to stab into the net and make it 3-2. A treble of goals in the space of eight minutes. The whole damn stadium went ballistic.  

Empoli settled into a very flat, very condensed back four and closed out the six minutes of stoppage time without any worries. A first Serie A victory for Liberato Cacace and it came against his family’s club. Might have some unhappy aunts and uncles now given that this result pretty much ends any remaining hope that Napoli could still win the Scudetto (though Champions League qualification is basically sorted). Funnily enough, Andrea Pinamonti is on loan from Inter who are now in control of the title race after Napoli took just one point from their last three matches. They’ll be stoked with his efforts.

Cacace’s team were 2-0 down when he was introduced. They ended up winning 3-2. This was his eighth appearance and finally he gets to experience a win... and what a win. Shout out to The Narrative. Still lost all four games that he’s started but to be fair two of those were against Juventus and AC Milan and he should get the chance to put that one to rest next week against Torino... which would be a hell of a time for Matt Garbett to make a debut, right? Garbs wasn’t on the bench for Torino this week after two straight matchday squads though so don’t bet on it or anything.

Up Next: Monday 2 May at 1am, Empoli versus Torino (NZT)
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
On the bench as Empoli (14th) host Torino (11th).

Garbett not in match day squad for Torino.
https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/05/01/italy/serie-a/empoli-fc/torino-fc/3558580/

Edit - unused sub in a 1-3 loss. A sub came on and scored all 3 goals (incl 2 pens) from 78 mins for Torino

Empoli finished game with 9 men. Players sent off at 60 mins (score Empoli up 1-0) & 85 mins (1-1). So the red cards cost them big time, and likely played a part in Cacace not coming on.

FYI - Libby’s parent club S-T finished regular season in Belgium mid table 9th of 18
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Empoli (14th) travel to Inter Milan (2nd) in a game that could decide the Serie A title.

Cacace on the bench at the San Siro. Shame he's often been the starting LB of late for the big teams! Started against Juve & AC Milan.

21 yr Parisi (Italy U21 age group international), his club rival for the starting LB role, starts 3 weeks running

Inter 2 points behind their Milan rivals with 3 games left.
https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/05/06/italy/serie-a/fc-internazionale-milano/empoli-fc/3558591/

Edit - 2-2 at HT
Edit 2 - Libby an unused sub in a 4-2 loss. 3-2 until 94th min, and Alexis Sanchez with the 4th. Inter go ahead of AC Milan (away to Verona Monday) by a point.
Legend
4.1K
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12K
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about 7 years
Empoli (14th) host Salernitana (17th). Salernitana desperate to avoid the drop, 1 point from the drop.
Libby on the bench

https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/05/14/italy/serie-a/empoli-fc/salernitana-calcio-1919/3558600/

Edit - Cacace on at 77 mins, straight after Salernitana had scored to make it 1-1. Empoli had been up 1-0 since 31st min.

Edit 2 - Finishes 1-1. Think Salernitana missed a pen late on.

1 game for Empoli to complete their Serie A season away to Atalanta. Do they sign Libby from S-T in Belgium, his loan deal then completed?


Legend
3K
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12K
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over 14 years
Cacace mostly had defensive work to do which he did creditably. 

Had a couple of runs to join counters the length of the field, but the pass to him wasn’t quite there. All the attacking while he was on seemed to go down the right flank. 

Seems very fit!
RR
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Bossi Insider
4.9K
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29K
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almost 14 years
coochiee
Empoli (14th) host Salernitana (17th). Salernitana desperate to avoid the drop, 1 point from the drop.
Libby on the bench

https://us.soccerway.com/matches/2022/05/14/italy/serie-a/empoli-fc/salernitana-calcio-1919/3558600/

Edit - Cacace on at 77 mins, straight after Salernitana had scored to make it 1-1. Empoli had been up 1-0 since 31st min.

Edit 2 - Finishes 1-1. Think Salernitana missed a pen late on.

1 game for Empoli to complete their Serie A season away to Atalanta. Do they sign Libby from S-T in Belgium, his loan deal then completed?



As long as they don't get relegated, they have committed to buying him

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