It was a seismic weekend in Serie A Femminile as Empoli managed to pull off the unthinkable by beating Juventus and having a major effect on both ends of the table.
Their remarkable 2-1 victory has boosted their own survival hopes, brought Juve’s historic unbeaten run to an end, and reignited the title race in Serie A Femminile.
Juventus’ lead cut to three points
The dominance that Juventus have exhibited over Serie A Femminile cannot be overstated. Until this match with Empoli, they had gone 54 league matches without tasting defeat. They have also won the title four times in a row and are still in the driving seat to make that five in a row.
The run had to come to an end at some point but no one expected that it would be relegation-threatened Empoli that delivered the first taste of league defeat for many of these Juve players in a black and white shirt.
Colpaccio @Empoliladies! Si ferma, dopo 54 risultati utili consecutivi, la corsa fenomenale della Juventus in campionato. ? #EmpoliJuve 2??-1??#SerieAFemminile @TIM_vision pic.twitter.com/kNJeaqmKNF
— FIGC Calcio Femminile (@FIGCfemminile) February 27, 2022
The idea of Sassuolo, Roma, Inter, or AC Milan beating Joe Montemurro’s side this season appeared possible as the collective level has risen this season, but Empoli beat them all to it.
The Azzurre raced into a 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes in Tuscany with goals from Valeria Monterubbiano and Cecilia Prugna but anyone would be forgiven for assuming the Bianconere would soon click into gear and take all three points back to Turin.
The away side missed a host of clear-cut chances but did get a goal back in the 77th minute through Lisa Boattin. They were then handed a penalty after a very clumsy challenge in the box. Cristiana Girelli stepped up but saw her weak penalty saved.
That result for Juve was made worse when Roma won their tenth consecutive league match, continuing the club’s longest winning run ever. The Giallorosse beat Inter 2-0 thanks to a first-half penalty from Andressa Alves and a wonderful strike from the edge of the box by Manuela Giugliano.
There is now just three points between Juventus and Roma with seven games left to play. It was expected that Roma would miss out on the Champions League again this season but now they have a genuine shot at winning the title.
To add to the drama, the two teams face each other on Saturday, March 5.
As for Sassuolo and AC Milan, they now find themselves chasing the lead pair after they played out a 0-0 draw in Emilia-Romagna. The point was all the more impressive for the Neroverde as they were down to 10 players after Benedetta Orsi’s red card just 14 minutes into the game.
From the Enzo Ricci yesterday, where Gianpiero Piovani’s Sassuolo were as much of a reflection of him as they could’ve been, brilliantly facing up to Milan despite having 10 players for close to 80 minutes. Few (none?) better than him in #SerieAFemminile.https://t.co/MiL1lRnRnV pic.twitter.com/GEtKUq28Vf
— Conor Clancy (@ConJClancy) February 27, 2022
Sassuolo now sit five points behind Juventus whilst Milan are another three points further back. Both sides will need a near-perfect record in their final seven games if they are to win the title or even qualify for the Champions League.
Empoli keep Napoli at bay
While the main headlines around Empoli’s victory over Juventus revolve around the end of the Bianconere’s unbeaten run and the title race, it was also a huge result in their quest to remain in the division.
Empoli sit in the place above the relegation zone and are at risk of being caught by Napoli. The Campanian side won their game against Hellas Verona 2-1 this weekend which temporarily put Empoli into the relegation zone. Napoli probably expected to stay in ninth place for at least a week.
Fiorentina’s 2-2 draw with Lazio means that they’re actually level on points with Empoli and one ahead of Napoli. La Viola are very much in the relegation fight now despite their promising signings during the winter.
Pomigliano were beaten 1-0 at home to Sampdoria which is a result that leaves them on 16 points, just like Fiorentina. Pomigliano, Fiorentina, Empoli and Napoli are now all separated by two points. One of them will be relegated.
Whilst it is not official yet, Lazio and Hellas Verona are now 11 and 14 points respectively from safety.
Serie A Femminile Round 15 results:
Fiorentina 2-2 Lazio
Napoli 2-1 Hellas Verona
Sassuolo 0-0 AC Milan
Empoli 2-1 Juventus
Pomigliano 0-1 Sampdoria
Roma 2-0 Inter