MILAN (AP) — Thiago Motta’s first match in charge of Bologna ended in disappointment as his team hit the woodwork twice in a 1-0 defeat at home to fellow struggler Empoli in Serie A on Saturday.
Filippo Bandinelli’s second goal in as many matches was enough to give Empoli its first win of the season.
Motta started as Bologna coach on Monday, replacing Siniša Mihajlović, who was fired the previous week. Youth squad coach Luca Vigiani had been in charge for the 2-1 victory over Fiorentina last weekend, Bologna first win this season.
It is the third coaching job for Motta, who directed Spezia to safety last season after also coaching Genoa in 2019.
Empoli had the better of the chances in the first half but Bologna dominated the second period.
It was awarded a penalty in the 59th minute after a cross hit the arm of Empoli defender Petar Stojanović. But, after a lengthy decision with the video assistant referee, referee Manuel Volpi reversed his decision because of an offside in the buildup.
Empoli took the lead against the run of play in the 77th when, under pressure, Bologna goalkeeper Łukasz Skorupski allowed Liam Henderson’s cross to squirm out of his hands and Bandinelli tapped into an empty net.
Bologna almost leveled immediately but a header from Marko Arnautović, who had earlier drawn a fantastic save from Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario, came off the right post.
Substitute Joshua Zirkzee also volleyed a corner off the crossbar in stoppage time, two minutes after coming off the bench.
Empoli’s victory means there are only three teams still seeking their first win of the Serie A season. One of those, Sampdoria, was playing at Spezia later. Also, Torino coach Ivan Juric returns after missing two matches with pneumonia as his squad hosts Sassuolo.
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Daniella Matar, The Associated Press