EMPOLI, Italy (AP)Empoli boosted its chances of avoiding getting dragged into a relegation scrap after beating struggling Sampdoria 1-0 with late drama at Stadio Carlo Castellani on Monday.
Omar Colley thought he equalized in the seventh minute of stoppage time, sparking wild scenes of celebration among the Sampdoria players, but it was ruled out for handball in the buildup.
Sampdoria remained seven points from safety after its sixth loss in its last seven matches.
Empoli’s first win of the new year lifted it into mid-table, 13 points above the drop zone.
Tyronne Ebuehi netted his first goal for Empoli – and his first in Serie A – in the 55th minute when he headed in a corner.
Samp’s Mehdi Leris hit the crossbar in the first half.
The visitors laid siege to the Empoli goal in the closing stages but goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario pulled off impressive saves.
Samp goalkeeper Emilio Audero came up in the dying stages and he had a part to play in setting up Colley but, after reviewing the goal on the pitchside monitor, the referee ruled that Samp forward Manolo Gabbiadini handled the ball just before it came to Audero.
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