Late Marin strike snatches point for Empoli at Lazio, Samp honour Vialli

Razvan Marin struck in the dying minutes to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw for Empoli at Lazio on Sunday, the Tuscans earning a point after being two goals down with seven minutes remaining.

Romania midfielder Marin lashed home the leveller in the fourth minute of stoppage time to stun Lazio who are three points from the Champions League positions in fifth after throwing away a lead for the second time in a week.

Lazio looked set for a comfortable win when a neat finish from Mattia Zaccagni eight minutes after the break added to Felipe Anderson's second-minute glancing header.

Lazio were playing without the concentrated support of their hardcore fans after the Curva Nord section of the Stadio Olimpico was closed as punishment for racist chants directed at Samuel Umtiti during Wednesday's defeat at Lecce.

And Maurizio Sarri's team didn't look in need of their vociferous support against 13th-placed Empoli until Francesco Caputo pulled one back with an expert finish, setting up the away side to take a precious point with Marin's fine effort.

"I'm as happy as a kid. This match shows that we're a good team who can take on anyone," said 35-year-old striker Caputo, who returned to Empoli on loan from Sampdoria on Monday.

Italy international Caputo shot to fame at Empoli when in his early 30s and is happy to be back.

"I'm really attached to this team, the club and the city," he added.

"Coming here was something I wanted to do at any cost and I managed to do it... When two people both work on a marriage things are always going to go well."

Empoli are one point ahead of Monza and Salernitana following the latter's 1-1 home draw with Torino in the day's opening match.

- Samp honour Vialli, Mihajlovic -

Later on Sunday, Napoli will try to go seven points clear at the top of Serie A at Sampdoria, who will pay tribute to their deceased greats Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli.

Napoli are trailed by Juventus, winners over Udinese on Saturday, and AC Milan who are five points back in third ahead of their home match with Roma on Sunday night.

Sampdoria will wear a shirt which bears both former players' names for the clash at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris after Vialli lost a long battle with pancreatic cancer on Friday at the age of 58.

Mihajlovic, who played for Sampdoria in the mid-1990s and later managed the club, succumbed to leukemia last month and Sunday's match is their first home fixture since he passed away.

Fans have made a shrine to Vialli, one of Sampdoria's best-ever players who won the club's only league title in 1991, at the gates of the Stadio Luigi Ferraris since his death.

The Samp players warmed up for the match in shirts bearing Vialli's number nine, while fans in the stands chanted his name and waved banners in his honour.

The build-up was marred by Napoli fans clashing with Roma supporters at a service station as both sets of fans made their way north for their matches, reportedly creating a 13 kilometre queue on the A1 motorway which connects Milan and Naples.

Samp opened 2023 with a win at Sassuolo on Wednesday but are in 18th, six points behind Spezia who sit just outside the relegation zone and drew 0-0 with Lecce in soaking conditions.

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