03.04.2015 14:27 - in: Serie A S

    Empoli on the road

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    Maurizio Sarri’s Azzurri have collected one win, nine draws and three defeats away from the Stadio Carlo Castellani this term

    Last year's Serie B runners-up Empoli, back in Italy's top flight for the first time in seven seasons, commenced their 2014/15 campaign with a 2-0 opening day loss at the hands of Udinese in Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

    But Maurizio Sarri’s men soon found their feet back in the big time when a penalty from Francesco Tavano and further finish courtesy of Bianconeri-owned stopper Daniele Rugani saw them grab a 2-2 draw away at Cesena midway through September.

    Back-to-back 1-1 draws against Chievo and Genoa then preceded a 3-1 Sassuolo triumph in Emilia-Romagna, with Daniele Croce’s early strike ultimately proving a mere consolation for the Azzurri in October.

    November finally brought an end to their winless run, however, as Parma were put to the sword in a 2-0 victory thanks to a goal apiece from Matias Vecino and Tavano at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

    Nevertheless, joy quickly turned to frustration in the Azzurri's subsequent away game when they were made to rue a 2-2 stalemate with Napoli two weeks later. Jonathan de Guzman’s late strike bagged a share of the spoils for the Neapolitans after Empoli had initially been 2-0 to the good.

    There were to be no lingering away day blues, however, as Sarri inspired his charges to a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Fiorentina’s Stadio Artemio Franchi in the team’s final game of 2014.

    Empoli’s new year began on a somewhat sour note when Eder’s second-half strike ensured a 1-0 triumph for Sampdoria in Genoa, a result that consigned them to their third league defeat on the road.

    But that’s where the losses stopped, with the Tuscans now approaching their upcoming meeting with Juventus in Turin on the back a four-match unbeaten away streak.

    This kicked off when Massimo Maccarone’s finish claimed a creditable 1-1 draw versus the Giallorossi in Rome at the end of January, with the veteran hitting his second away strike in as many games to replicate the scoreline at San Siro, cancelling out Mattia Destro’s early goal for Milan on Valentine's weekend.

    A goalless stalemate away at Palermo in Sicily followed before Vecino’s last-gasp finish ensured the draw specialists brought a 1-1 result home from Cagliari’s Stadio Sant’Elia in March.

    Despite only bagging a solitary success outside of Empoli all season, the Tuscans will look to play the determined football that has served them so well when they try to pull off a scalp up against the reigning champions at Juventus Stadium on Saturday evening.

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