Inter extend Serie A lead as Dimarco missile sinks Empoli


Federico Dimarco’s stunning second-half strike handed Inter Milan a 1-0 away win at bottom club Empoli on Sunday, regaining their three-point advantage at the top of the Serie A rankings.

Inter now have 15 points after five games, three more than their second-placed rivals AC Milan, who beat Hellas Verona on Saturday. Empoli are still at the bottom of the table, with no points and no goals.

Inter dominated a goalless first half before scoring the game’s opening goal in the 51st minute when a clearing from a corner fell to Dimarco, who volleyed into the top corner.

Empoli pushed hard in the last minutes, with Inter reduced to 10 men after Marko Arnautovic walked off injured, but the league leaders hung on to win and keep their perfect league record intact.

The visitors had a strong start, with Empoli defender Ardian Ismajli clearing Matteo Darmian’s header off the line in the ninth minute.

Inter scored in the 35th minute when Davide Frattesi headed in a Hakan Calhanoglu cross, but Marcus Thuram was offside before pushing the ball home.

After Dimarco forced a corner, Inter finally broke the deadlock. Etrit Berisha, the Empoli goalie, did well to save his shot, but when Filippo Ranocchia’s headed clearance from the corner found Dimarco, there was no stopping his magnificent strike.

Empoli fought back after falling behind, and Filippo Ranocchia’s free kick forced Yann Sommer into a fine save.

Thuram came closest to adding a second goal for Inter when he chested down an Arnautovic cross before shooting, but his shot went just over the crossbar.

Aurelio Andreazzoli, who took over for Paolo Zanetti on Tuesday, was unable to improve on the club’s terrible start to the season.

They are now the only team in Serie A history to have zero points and zero goals after five games, but they did show some improvement from last weekend’s 7-0 thrashing by AS Roma.

Both teams are back in action on Wednesday, with Inter hosting Sassuolo at the San Siro and Empoli hosting Salernitana.

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