Empoli earns first win since January in Serie A

MILAN -- — Empoli earned its first win since January when it beat fellow struggler Lecce 1-0 in Serie A on Monday.

Francesco Caputo converted a 62nd-minute penalty kick to end a four-match losing run and lift Empoli 12 points above the bottom three.

Lecce was four points below the Tuscan side.

Kickoff was delayed for an hour after a small fire started in the Empoli dressing room because of a short circuit. It was swiftly brought under control but the teams were evacuated and the fire service arrived to ensure it was safe for the match to go ahead.

Perhaps affected by that incident, the match got off to a sluggish start and the only real chance of the first half was when Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone pulled off a stunning save to fingertip Caputo’s long-range effort over the bar, just before halftime.

Empoli broke the deadlock after Fabiano Parisi ran into the area and was clumsily barged over by Lecce midfielder Morten Hjulmand. Caputo powerfully placed the resulting penalty down the middle.

The home side almost doubled its lead five minutes later but Falcone made a double save to, first, parry Roberto Piccoli’s header from point-blank range, then Filippo Bandinelli prodded the rebound into the goalie’s arms.

Empoli assistant coach Alberto Bertolini and defender Lorenzo Tonelli were sent off from the bench for dissent in separate incidents.

Torino played at Sassuolo in a late mid-table clash.