Full-time: Empoli 0-2 Inter
- 2nd Half
- de VrijKolarov80'
- 1st Half
- de Vrij24'
Empoli - Internazionale
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Another disallowed goal! Sensi's corner is headed back to him by Bastoni, so he skips into the box and lamps a riser into the far roof, but was offside when he took possession.
Kolarov chips into the box, looking for Dzeko, but Luperto heads clear.
There'll be four added minutes.
There's actually a decent away following at this game, certainly for Italy. One of the nauses of living in a big country is that it makes going all over a total mission, if not impossible, but Empoli is only a couple of hundred miles from Meelan.
Dimarco, who I think is my man of the match, hoists a cross that flies behind.
Lucas Moura has put Spurs in front at Burnley; Liverpool now lead 2-0 at Preston; Leicester Brighton is 2-2; Brentford are 2-1 up at Stoke; and West Ham-Man City is 0-0.
Kolarov sends Sensi down the left and Dzeko's free in the middle, but he can't pick him out, crossing straight to Vicario.
Two more changes for Inter, Dzeko and Sensi replacing Gagliardini and Lautaro.
Lautaro wriggles into the box and when his shot's blocked, the rebound falls kindly for Dimarco, who leathers a drive just wide of the far post.
To give Empoli their due, they played well in the first half. But going behind knocked it out of them, and they've been waiting to lose ever since.
Empoli send on Fiamozzi for Stojanovic.
Kolarov's 35 now, but I don't suppose he's any slower than he was at his peak.
Another change for Inter, Kolarov replacing De Vrij.
Inter think they've scored a third when Gagliardini bundles home the corner, but while his mates celebrate he wears a sheepish look, and the replay shows he knocked it in with his arm. He's booked for his trouble.
Inter win a corner down the left...
It's actually Brozovic who takes a blow first, replaced by Correa.
On which point, I'd not be surprised to see Lautaro and Barella given a rest, though I bet Lautaro wants to hang on to get himself a goal.
The only question now is how many more Inter score.
A triple change for Empoli, Mancuso, Asllani and Henderson replacing Zurkowski, Cutrone and Bandinelli.
GOAL! Empoli 0-2 Inter (Di Marco) That's been coming. Inter have got Empoli down the right, and when Lautaro bounces away from Luperto, he crosses low and hard, allowing Di Marco to jab home at the far post. Job done.
Gagliardini shoots from distance and Vicario shoves behind, then the resultant corner is half-cleared to Brozovic, who lashes a shot only just wide of the far post.
Barella nashes down the right and caresses a gorgeous cross onto the head of Lautaro, who makes decent contact. If we're being harsh, he doesn't hit the corner, but it looks for all the world like the power's taking it in ... but out of nowhere, Vicario extends an arm backwards, to claw the ball away from very close to the line.
You can follow that one here:
Back in the Carabao, Minamino has given Liverpool the lead at Preston.
Pinamonti curls the free-kick over the top.
Bandinelli steps on the gas and breaks towards the box, so Brozovic runs across him and is booked. Free-kick Empoli, just outside the box, left of centre.
What's come over Matteo Darmian? He shifts it to make room for the cross, sticks it on Gagliadini's head ... but from five yards, his mate can only head onto the post! That should've been game over.
Empoli send Haas on for Bajrami.
Di Marco crosses from the left and an overs from Sanchez allows Darmian to shoot, but he scuff an effort straight at Vicario. Sanchez sticks home the rebound, but he and Barella were both offside.
Barella is rubbing his shoulder and wheeling his arm, but he should be ok. Empoli, though, are in big trouble.
Inter get the corner awya and counter, Lautaro finding Barella, who sets off. But he manages no more than a few strides before Ricci lunges across him; Barella falls, rolls, squeals and writhes - he gets decent levitation and lands on a shoulder - then the ref shows Ricci a red card! He cant have any arguments with that.
Parisi's only 20 and making his debut but he's not scared at all and teases in a hard, low cross, which De Vrij has to hack away; Empoli maintain pressure to force a corner.
Pinamonti, one of Empoli's strikers, is on loan from Inter - apologies I neglected to inform you earlier. He also wears 99, which I presume is down to his love of a Mr Whippy with flake.
Darmian crosses from the right and Sanchez leaps well, but his downward header is too close to Vicario.
I always wonder how the conversation went when Man United signed Darmian.
"I've got a full-back for you boss."
"Is he hard?"
"Is he fast?"
"Is he a leader?"
Is he good going forward?"
"Is he good in the tackle?"
"Brilliant, get him signed."
Darmian runs at Parisi, and runs out of play.
We go again.
Empoli started well, but gradually, Inter asserted themselves and now look extremely comfortable.
Half-time: Empoli 0-1 Inter
Di Marco turns up on the right wing and sticks a scrumptious cross on Lautaro's head! This is 0-2 and the match! But no! Lautaro, who's been very quiet so far, heads down but far too close to Vicario! Might he and his teammates regret that an hour from now?
Sanchez has come right into this the last 15 minutes and when put in by Brozovic, he shimmies around Vicario, who possibly brushes him; Sanchez stays on his feet, but can't force body around ball to direct his shot into the empty net.
But Inter keep working it, Sanchez charging down Luperto's clearance with his buttocks and Barella thrashing against the post ... but he was offside.
Inter are happily knocking it about now., probing for an opening, but when Sanchez switches to Di Marco, a poor touch allows Stojanovic to intercede.
Not much going on here, so let's do some League cup latests:
Burnley 0-0 Spurs
Leicester 1-0 Brighton
Preston 0-0 Liverpool
Stoke 0-2 Brentford
West Ham 0-0 Man City
The game's slowed right down now. Inter, I imagine, back themselves to find another goal at some point.
Ooof, next Sunday it's Roma v Milan. Tasty.
Credit where it's due, that was a really good ball by Sanchez. Perhaps he's recovered from Manuniteditis.
GOAL! Empoli 0-1 Inter (D'Ambrosio) On his first start of the season too!I'm not totally sure what he doing up there, but on the edge of the box, Sanchez digs out a dink, and D'Ambrosio has a running leap at it, lobbing into the far corner with a head-ear-shoulder combo!
D'Ambrosio clips Bajrami on the right side of the box and doesn't get much of the ball. That's not far off a penalty, but the ref doesn't whistle so VAR leaves it alone. Had he given it, I don't we'd've seen it overturned.
I've just realised I don't know where Empoli is, so I've investigated and discovered that it's in Tuscany. Decent little away that, and a lot better than Wolves.
Di Marco wastes the free-kick.
Luperto loses a race with Sanchez - shaaaaame! - so pulls him back. He's booked.
Bastoni crosses looking for Barella, but Ismajli heads clear.
Bajrami curls in from the right and it's a decent ball too, but no one's on their toes and it zips into touch.
Zurkowski flicks the ball past De Vrij and it flicks the defender's hand; he receives a very harsh yellow, because I don't think he knew much about that.
The corner comes to nowt
Better from Inter, taking a free-kick short 30 yards from goal and dead centre, Brozovic finding Di Marco, who sweeps a nasty-looking curler that has Vicario flying across his goal to tip over.
Meanwhile, it's all going on in Spain (especially if you backed Sevilla!)
Inter win a corner down the right and it's not cleared properly so they go again, finding Bajrami short. He sashays by Brozovic with embarrassing ease and squares for Luperto; he must score! He takes the ball well, and with Handanovic diving left, shoots right ... only for D'Ambrosio to slide in out of nowhere to make the block! That is phenomenal defending.
Neither side has created much, but there's a decent tempo to this.
Brozovic touches through to Di Marco, who's challenged by Stojanovic and thinks he's been fouled, but the ref is having none of it and who is he to argue?
The most important football story of the day/week/year:
Parisi turns up on the right and finds Zurkowski; his shot is blocked, but Empoli sustain the attack and Stojanovic absolutely panels one from 20 yards that Handanovic flies across his goal to prang behind!
The Empoli fans are making a decent row, but it's a while since their team rustled up an attack.
I take back what I said about Inter's tops. The tracky top is fire, but the kit has a sponsor, a collar and buttons like the kind of polo shirt you see worn by the English football fans who like to hurl plastic furniture in European squares and plazas.
Inter are starting to assert themselves, Di Marco crossing from the left and missing out Darmian - a wise move, I'd say - so Barella marches onto the ball and lashes a wild shot far too high.
The corner goes short to Sanchez, who feeds it back to Di Marco; the eventuating cross picks out D'Ambrosio at the back stick, but he can't get any power in his header and Vicario fields easily.
...which Zurkowski heads behind, unsure what's behind him.
Bandinelli hacks down Sanchez, so Di Marco will stick a ball into the box from 40 yards out, just left of centre...
Sanchez burrows away down the left and nips a cross into the box, seeking Di Marco, but Empoli get the ball away.
These Inter third kits and tracky tops are absolutely sensational.
Parisi making his debut, wins a corner down the left and swerved towards the back post, it picks out Cutrone, on loan from Wolves ... but he can only head wide.
Away we go!
The ref has been to the gym. I would not mess.
Here come the teams...
I'm looking forward to seeing how Marcelo Brozovic does today. He's a tremendous player, and one Inter will do well to hang onto beyond January, given the state of their finances.
Eeesh! Pushing for a winner, Juventus were caught on the break by Sassuolo and ended up losing 2-1. They're now 13 points off the lead.
Atalanta have consolidated second place by beating Sampdoria 3-1. The clinching goal, scored by Ilicic, was a belter and is worth your time.
Antonio Conte signed Sanchez - and Darmian, Lukaku and Young - from Manchester United. Maybe he was planning to go there after leaving Inter, and he was helping with the clear-out.
Inter, meanwhile, need to rebound from their latest Juveing, the Derby d'Italia stolen from them by Pablo Dybala's 89th minute penalty. They replace Skriniar with D'Ambrosio, Perisic with Di Marco, Calhanoglu with Gagliardini and Dzeko with Sanchez. Remember him?
Empoli, who won 4-2 at Salernitana last time out, leave out Marchizza, Haas and Henderson, replacing them with Parisi, Bajrami and Zurkowski. They play a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Let's have some teams!
If Inter are to make even a pretence of defending their title, they need to win tonight. Milan, who top the table and lead them by seven points, won last night, so they need to likewise tonight. Empoli, meanwhile, are doing alright, 12th in the table, but a win here takes them to eighth, level on points with Juve, who are into injury time with Sassuolo, drawing 1-1. All those takes about how they'd be better off without Ronaldo are looking smart.
Evening all, and welcome to Empoli v Inter!