MILAN (AP) — Diego Perotti was in tears at the final whistle and had to be consoled by his teammates after his late penalty was saved in relegation-threatened Salernitana's 1-1 draw with Empoli in Serie A on Saturday.
Salernitana inched two points clear of the drop zone — but missed a chance to gain more ground — before Cagliari and Genoa play on Sunday.
Empoli goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario pulled off a number of fine saves, including the penalty stop, though he was also somewhat at fault for Federico Bonazzoli’s second-half equalizer after Patrick Cutrone had given Empoli the lead.
The result sent last-place Venezia straight back to Serie B regardless of its result at Roma later.
Salernitana was desperate for points at Empoli after a stoppage-time equalizer from Cagliari last weekend saw the Sardinian team snatch a draw in their relegation battle.
It had the better of the early chances and Empoli defender Fabiano Parisi had to make a goalline clearance shortly before Vicario pushed another attempt onto the underside of the crossbar and out.
But it was Empoli that took the lead against the run of play when Cutrone ran onto a Kristjan Asllani through ball and placed an effort between the goalkeeper and the near post.
Vicario continued to keep Salernitana at bay, including with two stunning stops in the second half to claw efforts off the line from first Bonazzoli and then Milan Djuric.
Those two chances came either side of Cutrone almost doubling his tally but he hit a low shot onto the right post.
Vicario made a rare mistake for the Salernitana equalizer in the 76th minute as he dropped a corner and the ball came to Bonazzoli for an overhead kick into the back of the net.
Salernitana had a golden chance to take the lead, six minutes from time, when it was awarded a penalty for a tackle by Simone Romagnoli on Mamadou Coulibaly.
But Vicario pulled off another impressive feat by also saving Perotti’s spotkick.
There's one round to play after this weekend.
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Daniella Matar, The Associated Press