Parma came away from the Stadio Carlo Castellani with a point this afternoon and almost undeservedly ended up with all three, in this exciting encounter in Tuscany.
With the home side pretty much safe as they sit 10 points clear of the relegation zone and troubled Parma sitting rock bottom there wasn’t a great deal to play for this afternoon, that probably helped make this such an entertaining fixture with the pressure off both teams could just go out and play their football.
Parma were hoping to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat at the hands of Genoa in mid-week putting an end to The Ducali’s three match unbeaten run.
Roberto Donadoni had to do without the suspended Cristobal Jorquera, Donadoni did however welcome Jose Mauri back into the starting line-up after taking a place on the bench against Genoa. As for Empoli they were missing important midfielder Simone Verdi.
The hosts started the game stronger and Massimo Maccarone almost opened the scoring against his former employers but the veteran sent his header wide and into the side net.
Surprisingly it was Parma who took the lead thanks to a Francesco Lodi strike in the 19th minute after various opportunities were blocked Lodi came in striking the ball in to the far corner.
Empoli got back on level terms on the half hour mark and it was a well-deserved equaliser, Riccardo Saponara got away down the left getting the better of Mattia Cassani he squared the ball for Maccarone who slipped the ball past the diving Mirante to square things up.
Empoli were very much on top for the first half and as the half drew to a close they took the lead as Lorenzo Tonelli got on the end of a Mirko Valdifiori corner to bullet his header of the underside of the bar and in to the net, Mirante stood no chance.
Straight after the re start Empoli almost went 3-1 up but Antonio Mirante was at his brilliant best first saving from Saponara then getting straight back up to spectacularly turn Daniele Croce’s header over the bar.
As Empoli dominated Croce should have done better as his effort hit the side netting, he really should have at least tested Mirante.
Parma never gave up and got their equalizer against the run of play, as Massimo Coda’s strike was deflected onto the bar. Ishak Belfodil was there to finish, scoring his first Serie A goal in almost two years.
Parma pressed and Abdelkader Ghezzal almost gave the visitors a surprise win but his effort sailed over the bar and a draw was how this one ended.
Empoli – Sepe, Laurini, Rugani, Tonelli, Mario Rui, Vecino (Zielinski, 78), Valdifiori (Signorelli, 64), Croce, Saponara, Maccarone, Pucciarelli (Tavano, 83).
Parma – Mirante, Cassani, Costa, Feddal, Varela, Jose Mauri, Lodi (Nocerino, 54), Lila (Belfodil, 69), Gobbi, Ghezzal, Coda.
By Giovanni Dougall