Empoli Deals Blow to Napoli's Champions League Hopes with 1-0 Win

Napoli's Champions League hopes dented after shock 1-0 loss to relegation-battling Empoli, prompting furious response from fans and management.

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Salman Khan
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Empoli Deals Blow to Napoli's Champions League Hopes with 1-0 Win

Empoli Deals Blow to Napoli's Champions League Hopes with 1-0 Win

In a surprising result on Sunday, Empoli defeated Napoli 1-0 in a Serie A match, denting Napoli's hopes of securing a Champions League spot for the 2024-25 season. The match was decided in just the 4th minute when Alberto Cerri scored a header for Empoli, ending his three-year goal drought in Serie A.

Napoli struggled throughout the match with several key players missing due to suspensions and injuries. Despite dominating possession, they were unable to find an equalizer. Empoli defended well and held on for the narrow victory at the Stadio Carlo Castellani.

The loss was a significant setback for Napoli's Champions League aspirations. They currently sit 8th in the Serie A table, 3 points behind Lazio in 6th, 6 points behind AS Roma in 5th, and 10 points adrift of 4th-placed Bologna. Italy has secured at least 5 spots in an expanded Champions League competition next season, but Napoli's path to qualification looks increasingly difficult after the loss to Empoli.

Why this matters: The result has major implications for the race for Champions League spots in Serie A next season. It was also a historic victory for Empoli over one of Italy's biggest clubs as they fight to avoid relegation.

Napoli coach Francesco Calzona acknowledged the team's "notorious problems this season" after the match, saying they "owe it to the city, to the club that pays our wages" to perform better. Napoli CEO Aurelio De Laurentiis was furious and criticized the players, taking blame himself for keeping faith in some players during the winter transfer window who have underperformed. A major reshuffle of the Napoli squad is expected this summer.

The loss prompted a furious response from Napoli's ultras, who hurled insults at the players and urged De Laurentiis to send the squad on a punitive training retreat. "We are professionals and we must do more," said Napoli captain Giovanni Di Lorenzo. "We still mathematically have a chance for the Champions League, so we will give everything until the end."

Key Takeaways

  • Empoli defeated Napoli 1-0 in Serie A, denting Napoli's Champions League hopes.
  • Napoli struggled with key player absences and failed to equalize despite dominating.
  • The loss was a significant setback for Napoli's Champions League qualification prospects.
  • Napoli coach and CEO acknowledged the team's underperformance, promising a squad reshuffle.
  • Napoli's ultras furiously criticized the players, who vowed to fight until the end.