Internazionale v Empoli Live Commentary, 19/01/2022

3 - 2
A. Sánchez (13)
A. Ranocchia (90+1)
S. Sensi (104)
N. Bajrami (61)
I. Radu (76 og)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza
(FT 2 - 2)


That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed the game, and we'll see you for the next one. Goodbye!
With that extra-time victory, Inter progress into the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia. For Empoli though, their highly entertaining cup run comes to an end, and having ended in the fashion that it did, it's no surprise that they pushed the might of Inter all the way in this fantastic spectacle of a match.
He may not have scored in this match, but the impact of Edin Dzeko after coming on just 13 minutes from the end of normal time cannot be understated. He had two shots on target, three key passes (one of which was the assist for Ranocchia's equaliser), and completed a game-high seven aerial duels in his limited time on the field. Their much-changed lineup looked set to lose this match, but the substitutes made their presence count after coming on, to say the least.
Well, what a game that turned out to be! The spirited Empoli fightback, which saw them go 2-1 up after being 1-0 down at half-time, looked to have won them the match, before Inter captain Ranocchia's flying volley in stoppage time sent the game into half an hour of extra time! As Empoli faded, Inter's subs came to the fore, and up popped Sensi to smash home the winner just before half-time to bring an end to a superb cup tie!
118' Stojanovic tussles with Dimarco down the right as he looks to win a corner for Empoli, but the last touch is his as the ball goes behind for a goal-kick instead.
116' Inter are firmly in control at the moment - they're keeping possession well, and, knowing that the clock is ticking away the chances of an Empoli fightback, look to be in no hurry of risking their control of the ball.
114' Inter break and the ball comes out to Perisic on the left. He cuts inside and shoots low, but it's straight at Furlan who doesn't have to move as he gathers the effort.
112' SAVED!!! Cutrone is crowded severely in the Inter box, but still manages to get away a shot that stings the fingertips of Radu before he gathers the high ball!
110' Dumfries has been active all game long down the right wing for Inter. Five shots - of which three were blocked - as well as an assist and key pass, highlight an industrious performance that has also seen the Inter man give away three fouls.
108' A cross into the Inter box finds Cutrone, who gets the ball at the second time of asking before drilling a low shot right into the waiting arms of Furlan. Fazzini fouls D'Ambrosio in the process, and so the free-kick goes against the visitors.
107' A long ball finds Perisic, who looks to head the ball on for a team-mate. Unfortunately, his header is nowhere near Sanchez, and the ball rolls on into the arms of Furlan.
106' Inter kick us off for what will be the last in-play action of this game - the final 15 minutes of extra-time.
It's half-time in the extra-time period, and that Sensi goal may just be the one that settles this contest! Both sides have had chances, but that well-taken finish from the Inter substitute is proving to be the difference as this game comes to its end!
A. Sánchez
104' The assist from Sanchez was very clever, but the energy of Inter to win that ball back so quickly could prove to be the difference in this game, as they look to hold onto this lead right until the end of the extra-time period.
S. Sensi
104' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!! That might just win it!!! Inter win the ball deep and Sanchez finds Sensi on the edge of the box. The substitute takes a touch, before rifling the ball past Furlan and into the back of the net to make it 3-2 to the hosts!
103' WIDE!!! Dzeko tees up the incoming Calhanoglu on the edge of the area, but his first-time effort is off target and goes behind to the left of Furlan's net, for a goal kick.
102' There's quite the tug-of-war between Fazzini and D'Ambrosio coming on for the ball, and the Inter man is eventually the beneficiary of the referee's whistle for a free-kick in his favour.
100' Sensi and Perisic look to link up on the byline, but Stojanovic gets back brilliantly to win possession for Empoli and clear the danger.
98' BLOCKED!!! A cut-back ball to Sanchez is just behind the Inter forward, who instead tees up Dumfries to shoot. The Dutchman's low drive is blocked and cleared, but Inter will come back for more!
J. Fazzini
K. Asllani
97' The immense Asllani comes off for Empoli, and Jacopo Fazzini will see out the rest of the game.
96' WIDE!!! Sensi carves himself an opening and plays a one-two with fellow substitute Dzeko. On getting the ball back he looks to side-foot a shot into the top corner, but the ball sails wide of the left-hand post of Furlan's goal.
S. Sensi
L. Martínez
94' Martinez is withdrawn for the hosts, and on come fresh legs in the form of Stefano Sensi.
93' Dimarco takes a brilliant touch to set Inter up on an attack, but the final ball from Dzeko into the area is easily dealt with by the visitors.
92' BLOCKED!!! Empoli come forward and Ricci is teed up on the edge of the area. His effort is struck well but hits Ranocchia on its way, allowing the hosts to re-gain possession!
91' Empoli kick off the first 15 minutes of extra-time, and this game is still too close to call!
That's the end of the 90 minutes, but we're locked up at 2-2 and so 30 minutes of extra-time will follow!
90' + 4' BALL IN THE NET!!! A deflection inside the box sends the ball forward to Dzeko, whose header is well saved by Furlan! Sanchez follows in to tap the ball home, but both are miles offside and play is brought back!
90' + 3' Another deep cross is found in the box by Perisic, who looks to tee up Martinez. the forward has a few stabs at the ball, before Viti arrives to block it behind for another Inter corner!
E. Džeko
90' + 1' The header across goal from Dzeko created all sorts of problems, and up popped the unlikely hero in Ranocchia to smash the ball home to make these last few minutes tense to say the least!
A. Ranocchia
90' + 1' GOOOOAAAALLLL!!!! WHAT A STRIKE!!!!!! A deep cross into the box is headed back across goal, and Ranocchia meets the bouncing ball with an acrobatic volley that flies into the top corner to make it 2-2!!! What a way to get your side right bck into this cup tie from the Inter captain!!!!
90' We'll play five added minutes at the end of this half, so don't go anywhere!
89' A stretching cross from Perisic finds Dumfries at the back post, whose subsequent header is blocked and cleared. The hosts look to follow in on that chance, but play is brought back as the ball had gone out when Perisic attempted his initial cross.
87' Inter need to find some answers if they're to swing this match back in their favour, but at present it's Empoli who look more keen than ever to see out this result and claim one hell of a scalp in this season's Coppa Italia.
A. Ismajli
R. Marchizza
85' Marchizza will come off in Empoli's latest change, and on comes Ardian Ismajli.
84' Another cross is aimed for Martinez in the box, but on this occasion the Inter forward goes down, under pressure from Marchizza. Despite Inter players' protests, the referee again waves play on, and an Empoli goal kick will be taken.
82' Asllani has been everywhere for Empoli in this game. As well as three shots, he's made two key passes, assisted the equaliser, and has won four fouls after having the most duels of any player on the pitch.
80' A deep cross is aimed at Martinez, who gets a goalbound header away, but he fouls Viti in the process and thus the free-kick goes against him.
79' OVER!!! Calhanogly strikes the free-kick, which curls agonisingly over the bar! Time is running out for the hosts to rescue this tie!
E. Džeko
R. Gagliardini
77' Gagliardini is withdrawn for Edin Dzeko as Inter look to get themselves some more impetus in the final third.
S. Romagnoli
Yellow Card
77' Romagnoli has his arms wrapped right around Martinez's head as the two compete for a loose ball, and the Empoli captain is rightly booked.
I. Radu
Own Goal
76' GOOOAAALLLLL!!!! Empoli take the lead!!! A cross is fired in towards Cutrone, and his bullet header hits the bar before going in off the back of Radu! It'll go down as an own goal but the visitors won't care as they're now 2-1 up!
75' SAVED!!! Cutrone sneaks in behind Ranocchia and looks to shoot, focring Radu to tip his effort over the bar and behind for a corner!
74' NO PENALTY!!! On a second viewing, the referee sees that D'Ambrosio and Dumfries both had their arms in natural positions, and so it's play on!
74' We're off to VAR!!! The Inter players aren't happy - and at first viewing the block looked to be fine, but the referee wants to take a closer look at this one!
73' PENALTY??? Cutrone has the ball out wide and with few options, dribbles towards the box. His eventual effort takes two deflections, one of which is deemed to hit the arm of Dumfries and the referee gives a penalty!!!
72' CHANCE!!! Sanchez finds Martinez in the box with a peach of a pass, but rather than shooting the striker looks to float a cross to the back post, which is blocked and subsequently cleared by Viti!
P. Stojanović
R. Fiamozzi
71' Fiamozzi is the next to come off for Empoli, and Petar Stojanovic enters the fray.
70' SAVED!!! A cross from the left passes all but Dumfries, who cuts inside and shoots on his left foot. A wicked deflection takes it away from Furlan, who still manages to get to the ball and save with his fingertips! This game is turning into a classic!
70' BLOCKED!!! Forward come Empoli on the break again and Asllani tees himself up for a shot. His curling effort from just outside the area strikes the body of Ranocchia, before the Inter captain clears his lines!
69' OVER!!! The corner routine sees the ball crossed in towards D'Ambrosio, whose header glides just over the top of the bar!
68' SAVED!!! Martinez powers into the box and cuts back to the incoming Sanchez, whose low shot is acrobatically saved by Furlan to force a corner!
66' It's clear that Empoli were really starting to get a foothold in this game, even before the equaliser, and so the triple substitution will be Inter's attempt at slowing their momentum in this second half.
N. Barella
A. Vidal
65' Vidal is also withdrawn in the third of Inter's changes, and on comes Nicolo Barella.
I. Perišić
M. Darmian
65' Darmian comes off too, and it's Ivan Perisic who will replace him.
H. Çalhanoğlu
M. Vecino
65' Vecino is sensibly brought off for Inter, and Hakan Calhanoglu comes on in his place.
64' Empoli again look to create an attacking opportunity as Stulac finds Asllani. His cross is threatening, but it's cleared by Darmian to give Inter some breathing space at the back.
62' Bajrami has been the player of the second half so far after only coming on after the interval. A goal, two shots and two key passes in just over 15 minutes? Clinical, to say the least.
K. Asllani
61' That build-up play was fantastic from Asllani and Empoli, and it;s hard to say that the goal hadn't been coming.
N. Bajrami
61' GOOAAAALLLL!!!! Empoli equalise!!! It's a really well-worked move that sees a deflected Cutrone shot fall to Asllani, who crosses into the box. It again deflects out to Bajrami, who takes a touch to set himself before smashing the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1! Game on, to say the very least!
59' Despite the scoreline, Empoli captain Romagnoli has been rock-solid so far. He's made two tackles, six clearances and won the ball five times, all team highs for the away side who have had to do their fair share of defending.
58' Vecino shunts Thompson over on the edge of the Empoli box, and appears to be very, very lucky to have avoided a booking there. He's treading one hell of a tightrope at the moment, and Simone Inzaghi may be tempted to take him off before it's too late.
56' The free-kick is struck by Asllani, but it hits the wall and bounces away for a throw-in.
M. Vecino
Yellow Card
54' Asllani is brought to ground by Vecino as he looks to break, and the Inter midfielder receives the first booking of the match.
54' Dumfries follows up his own pass to Sanchez and looks for the return inside the box. He attempts to find space, but the four Empoli players between the two Inter men easily cut out the pass and win possession for the away side.
53' Empoli have Inter penned in their own half with a good spell of attacking possession, but once again take too long to make that all-important pass in the final third and the ball is cleared by the hosts!
51' Dumfries strides forward up the right wing and looks to find Sanchez in the box. He's nearly successful, but Viti races back to cut out the low pass and stop the chance in it's tracks!
50' BLOCKED!!! Empoli really have their tails up as they win the ball in Inter's half and it falls to Cutrone. He looks to shoot, but his effort is blocked by Dimarco and goes behind for a corner!
50' OVER!!! Bajrami's first touches see him racing towards goal, before looking to curl a shot past Radu from 20 yards. It's not the best of efforts though, and doesn't trouble the Inter keeper as it flies over the crossbar!
49' Inter come forward with intent once more as Martinez finds an umarked Dumfries in space on the right. The wing-back takes too long assessing his options, though, and is eventually forces into a backwards pass towards halfway.
47' OVER!!! In swings an Inter free-kick, and Vecino's backward header deflects off Furlan into the path of Ranocchia. The Nerazzuri captain heads for goal, but his effort is just a fraction over the bar! How close!
46' Martinez kicks off the half for Inter, and we're into the second period of the match.
S. Ricci
A. Pinamonti
46' The third of Empoli's changes over the interval sees Pinamonti come off for Samuele Ricci.
N. Bajrami
S. Żurkowski
46' Zurkowski is also withdrawn, this time for Nedim Bajrami to come on.
L. Henderson
F. Bandinelli
46' Empoli make a half-time change as Bandinelli is brought off, and Liam Henderson takes his place.
The teams head back out for the second half, and the hosts will want to put this tie to bed!
Whilst Sanchez's goal proves the difference at the break, his strike partner Martinez has also been lively so far. The Argentine has two on target shots from three attempts, and those two efforts required top-class saves from Furlan to keep them out. He's also gained possession a team-high five times, showing how well Inter have been stealing the ball from their opponents in dangerous positions.
The first half comes to an end, and it's been quite an entertaining clash thus far! Inter deserve their slender lead, and the scorer Sanchez has been their biggest threat since coming off the bench just five minutes in. However, Empoli have looked good in attack at times, and despite not having any on target shots yet, this game is still too close to call going into the second half.
45' + 1' We're into two minutes of additional stoppage time to close out the rest of this half.
45' OVER!! Stulac's free-kick is well hit, but sails just over the top of Radu's crossbar!
44' Empoli counter and Pinamonti finds Bandinelli inside him. Vidal arrives and catches the midfielder late, giving the away side a free-kick from a very threatening position.
43' Inter have Empoli at sixes and sevens as Vecino advances into the box. He looks to side-foot a pass to Darmian, but it's behind the wing-back and the away side can counter!
41' CHANCE!!! Sanchez races down the right and looks for options, eventually cutting the ball back for Gagliardini. He fluffs his effort though, and falls as he shoots, allowing the ball to bounce up and be cleared by Empoli!
39' Another bad clearance from Furlan leaves Empoli exposed, with Sanchez capitalising and looking to find Vecino in the box. Luckily for the away side, Viti is back to head the ball away and clear the danger.
38' Martinez and Gagliardini look to link up down the left wing, but the latter is brought down by Fiamozzi, to which the referee strangely calls play on!
36' In swings the corner, which is dropped by Furlan under pressure from Inter's forwards! He does regather eventually, but only after the referee has stopped play to give a free-kick in his favour.
34' Vecino strides forwards before feeding Sanchez, who in turn finds Darmian. He looks to cut the ball back into the box, but it's deflected behind for an Inter corner.
32' Marchizza swings in an inviting cross from the left that has the Inter defenders panicking - particularly Darmian who side-foots the ball behind for a corner.
31' Sanchez has found the net in the Coppa Italia 4,291 days after his previous (and first) goal in the competition, netted in April 2010 with Udinese against Roma.
29' SAVED!!! A poor ball out from Furlan is intercepted by Vidal, and his ball to Vecino finds Martinez. The striker smashes it first time, but Furlan redeems his error by saving the close-range shot, as well as the volleyed follow-up from the Inter striker!
27' Bandinelli bundles over Sanchez for a free-kick, but D'Ambrosio's ball in is poor and is easily dealt with by the Empoli defenders.
25' Only Fiorentina, with 11, have scored more goals than Empoli’s eight in this season’s Coppa Italia: four against Vicenza in August and four against Verona in December.
23' An Empoli cross is swung in and dealt with, but D'Ambrosio and Dimarco clash heads going for the ball and the former is down on the ground.
22' Sanchez drives forward again and looks to find Martinez and Vecino. However, both players leave the ball for the other and the pass trickles behind!
20' BLOCKED!!! Sanchez wins the ball deep in Empoli territory off a dawdling Viti and finds Dumfries. He's under pressure from Romagnoli, but still gets a shot away which is deflected behind for a corner!
18' PENALTY??? In comes a long Empoli throw and Bandinelli goes to ground under pressure from Ranocchia! There's appeals aplenty, but the referee waves them away as play continues.
17' Empoli have only reached the Coppa Italia quarter–finals three times in their history – but have been eliminated in their last four appearances at this stage of the tournament.
15' Empoli break up a good-looking Inter attack and surge forward. A deflected Pinamonti strike falls to Cutrone, who wins the away side's first corner of the match!
D. Dumfries
13' Dumfries has threatened that kind of cross throughout the early stages of this game, and what a ball it was to find Sanchez unmarked!
A. Sánchez
13' GOOOAAALLL!!!!! Inter lead! The hosts keep their attack alive and Dumfries crosses to the far post. Through the towering Empoli defence, up pops Sanchez to head beyond Furlan and make it 1-0 to Inter! What a great finish!
12' Inter are camped on the edge of Empoli's box and Gagliardini looks to fire a low effort in from the edge of the area. It's deflected - twice - but comes back out to the hosts who are still on the attack.
10' Inter build well and Vidal looks to release Martinez with a first-time diagonal cross. It's a poor effort from the Chilean though, who only finds the head of Empoli captain Romagnoli.
8' Some good link-play in the Empoli midfield sends Bandinelli steaming down the left. He looks to cross for Cutrone, but the ball is too close to Radu and the Inter keeper gathers with ease.
7' Inter have only been eliminated in one of their last 18 appearances at this stage of the Coppa Italia, against Udinese in 2014. Since then, three of their seven last 16 ties in the competition have gone to extra time.
A. Sánchez
J. Correa
5' Correa looks to have pulled something during that bizarre exchange, and is replaced by Alexis Sanchez as he can't continue.
4' Inter are unbeaten in all the 10 Coppa Italia games played against Empoli, winning nine, and Empoli are the opponent the Nerazzurri have faced the most without ever losing in the competition.
3' There's a mini-rodeo occuring on halfway as Romagnoli looks to outmuscle Correa and is given a piggyback by the Inter forward! Correa wins the foul and is down on his haunches, but that was one strange piece of play.
2' Inter counter-attack through Martinez, who finds Gagliardini in the box. He, however, is crowded out by Empoli defenders and the ball is cleared.
1' Empoli kick off, and this game is underway!
The two sides make their way onto the pitch at the San Siro, and this cup tie isn’t too far away from kick-off now!
This season's Coppa Italia joint-top scorer with three goals, Empoli forward Leonardo Mancuso, misses out on this fixture, and his form in front of goal will look to be replicated by Patrick Cutrone and Andrea Pinamonti, the latter of whom is on loan at the club from Inter themselves!
Although it’s a much-changed team from their usual lineup in the league, this Inter XI still boasts plenty of firepower – mainly in the form of Argentine attacking duo Joaquin Correa and Lautaro Martinez.
EMPOLI SUBS: Samir Ujkani, Liam Henderson, Nedim Bajrami, Guglielmo Vicario, Jacopo Fazzini, Samuele Damiani, Lorenzo Tonelli, Samuele Ricci, Petar Stojanovic, Alessio Rizza, Adrian Ismajli, Leonardo Pezzola.
EMPOLI (4-3-1-2): Jacopo Furlan; Riccardo Marchizza, Mattia Viti, Simone Romagnoli, Riccardo Fiamozzi; Kristjan Asllani, Leo Stulac, Filippo Bandinelli; Szymon Zurkowski; Patrick Cutrone, Andrea Pinamonti.
INTER SUBS: Samir Handanovic, Stefan de Vrij, Alexis Sanchez, Edin Dzeko, Aleksandar Kolarov, Stefano Sensi, Ivan Perisic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Alex Cordaz, Nicolo Barella, Milan Skriniar, Alessandro Bastoni.
INTER (3-5-2): Ionut Radu; Danilo D’Ambrosio, Andrea Ranocchia, Federico Dimarco; Denzel Dumfries, Arturo Vidal, Roberto Gagliardini, Matias Vecino, Matteo Darmian; Lautaro Martinez, Joaquin Correa.
Visitors Empoli were knocked out of the cup by Napoli at this exact stage last season, and so will be keen to progress this season, albeit against a side 10 places and 21 points above them in the league.
Serie A-topping Inter are two points clear in the league, and will be looking to get off to a good start in this season’s Coppa Italia, having lost to eventual winners Juventus in last year’s semi-finals.
Hello, and welcome to live coverage of this fixture in the Coppa Italia, between Inter Milan and Empoli.