MILAN (AP) — Napoli coach Rudi Garcia is reportedly on the verge of being fired, only five months after taking over from title-winning coach Luciano Spalletti, after the team's third Serie A defeat of the season.
All three of Napoli's losses have come in front of its own fans and it has only won one match at home since the end of August. It lost just two matches at home on its way to the title last season under Spalletti.
There were also jeers when Garcia’s name was read out before the match and it could have been his last time in charge. Italian media reports said the French coach will be gone by the time training resumes on Wednesday for players not on international duty.
Napoli could have moved third, following AC Milan’s 2-2 draw at Lecce on Saturday, but it was still without forward Victor Osimhen and Garcia opted to start with another key player on the bench, resting Khvicha Kvaratskhelia.
There were more boos after a drab first half. Garcia’s experiment clearly hadn't worked and Kvaratskhelia was brought on early in the second period.
Napoli looked more dangerous but Empoli goalkeeper Etrit Berisha pulled off a great save with an outstretched leg to deny Kvaratskhelia in the final minute.
Worse was to come for Napoli moments later as Tyronne Ebuehi pulled the ball back from the byline for Kovalenko and the Ukraine midfielder curled in a magnificent strike off the inside of the far post for his first goal for Empoli.
Federico Dimarco scored from near the halfway line, two minutes before the interval, to set Inter on its way back to the top of Serie A.
Italian TV said his shot was from more than 56 meters.
Dimarco was still level with the center circle, on the left side of the field, when he spotted Frosinone goalkeeper — and lifelong Inter fan — Stefano Turati off his line and lobbed him with an outrageous strike.
Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer put his hands on his head in disbelief, while coach Simone Inzaghi turned round and beamed broadly at his bench.
Inter moved two points above Juventus, which beat Cagliari 2-1 on Saturday. The two teams meet in Turin after the international break.
Both teams had got back on track after disappointing starts but there were more fouls on Sunday than shots on goal.
After beating Milan last weekend for its first win of the season, Udinese appeared to be heading for a second straight victory following Walace's deflected strike on the stroke of halftime — despite having earlier seen a penalty come off the post.
But Ederson headed in the equalizer in stoppage time.
It was Udinese's fifth draw in its past six league matches and left it two points above the drop.
Fiorentina leapfrogged two points above Bologna, which fell to its first loss since the opening weekend.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer
Daniella Matar, The Associated Press