Roma ride luck in Empoli


Roma made it two wins out of two in Serie A this season by beating Empoli 1-0 at the Stadio Castellini on Saturday evening. An own goal from Luigi Sepe proved to be the only difference between the two sides with the Giallorossi celebrating a second straight clean sheet. Empoli coach Maurizio Sarri was sent off as his frustrations got the better of him and his side remain rooted to the foot of the table with a second straight defeat. With an eye on Wednesday's Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow, Roma coach Rudi Garcia left Francesco Totti on the bench, preferring Mattia Destro in his attack. Without their captain to aim for, Roma held more of the ball in midfield with Radja Nainggolan seeing most of it, setting up Alessandro Florenzi for the first chance of the game which was saved well by Sepe Chances were at a premium with Empoli cautiously trying to limit Roma's movements, but apart from a Francesco Tavano free-kick which found its way through the wall and gave Morgan De Sanctis some work, the Tuscans limited themselves to more defensive duties. Their back line was breached just before half-time when Maicon hit the post, and once again, crucially, in stoppage time when Nainggolan's 25-yard effort hit the post and bounced off the back of the unfortunate Sepe into his own goal. Maicon tried to double Roma's lead in the 57th minute, but as he delayed to wait for the Empoli goalkeeper to commit, the gap reduced and he ended up shooting straight at Sepe. Empoli had a strong shout for a penalty turned down by the referee when Kostas Manolas stopped Levan Mchedlidze inside the area, emerging with the ball at his feet as the Georgian went to ground. That decision was too much for Empoli coach Sarri, who was sent to the stands for his protests. From his better vantage point, he would have seen how close Mchedlidze went to equalising with a 30-yard effort which De Sanctis had to be at his best to keep out near his right-hand post. Garcia sent on Gervinho in what may have seemed like an attack-minded move, but in reality, the winger spent most of his time doubling up as a defender as Empoli threw everybody forward in search of an equaliser which did not come.