STADIO ENZO RICCI (Sassuolo) – Sofia Cantore set Sassuolo on their way to what looked to be three comfortable points over Empoli in Serie A Femminile on Sunday afternoon, but a quickfire double from the Azzurre meant that the Neroverde had to show a side of themselves that hadn’t been seen before to hang on for the win.
Just as Juventus had the day before, Sassuolo came out flying at the Stadio Enzo Ricci, giving Empoli all sorts of problems as Cantore and strike partner Lana Clelland were their usual troublesome selves for their opponents. The Scot’s movement dragged Empoli everywhere they didn’t want – and couldn’t afford – to go, and the Italian benefitted by getting in around the back to lob goalkeeper Alessia Capelletti.
Piece from the Enzo Ricci earlier. I was blown away by Lana Clelland and could have easily spent the whole game watching her movement alone.
— Conor Clancy (@ConJClancy) September 11, 2021
Clelland hit the post with the closest Sassuolo came to doubling their lead in the first half and Empoli had chances of their own, with Chante Dompig lively for the visitors, but Sassuolo got in at the break with a one-goal advantage and it was hard to avoid thinking that the Tuscans had missed the only chances they’d get.
That was reinforced after the break. A ball broke loose to Clelland outside the area and her low shot was blocked, but only for it to fall to the feet of Kamila Dubcova to tap in. Cantore got her second and Sassuolo’s third after Clelland had passed up on a golden chance to get on the scoresheet herself.
By then the game looked dead, and Gianpiero Piovani took off his front two as soon as Cantore had scored her second. Empoli struck instantly though, and then grabbed another to make it 3-2. From there, the afternoon couldn’t have been any less comfortable for the Neroverde.
Sassuolo’s fight keeps them in Serie A Femminile title race
FINALE | #SassuoloEmpoli 3?-2??
— U.S. Sassuolo (@SassuoloUS) October 10, 2021
It’s still very early in the season as the second international break arrives, but Juventus’ run of having won each of their last 30 games in Serie A Femminile shows just how important it is to not only avoid defeat but to win every single match to stand a chance come May.
With a slice of luck on their side, Sassuolo managed to hold on for three more points to stay level with Juventus on 18 points from six rounds of fixtures.
They very nearly didn’t make it. In the 91st minute and with four minutes added on in stoppages, Dompig had a cross-cum-shot that bounced back off the post and hit Neroverde goalkeeper Diede Lemey as she fell to the ground only to trickle behind for a corner when it so easily could have gone between the posts.
Benedetta Orsi was introduced by Piovani to add another body at centre-back after Empoli’s second, and the extra presence was at times enough to crowd out the Azzurre’s ventures into the box.
Sofia Cantore keeps on getting better
????? ??????? IS ON FIRE ???
9 reti e 4 assist nelle sue ultime 11 gare di Serie A. Ma poi, il gol di oggi?! ?@SassuoloUS ??
— FIGC Calcio Femminile (@FIGCfemminile) October 10, 2021
The sky is the limit for Sofia Cantore. The 22-year-old has been unplayable since joining Sassuolo in the summer, and no defence she’s come up against have been able to find a way to keep her quiet.
In six games this season, the Italy international has five goals to her name. More impressively, though, she’s bagged nine goals and provided four assists in her last 11 Serie A Femminile appearances.
She scored nine goals at mid-table Florentia – now Sampdoria – last season, three of those being penalties, but Cantore has come on leaps and bounds over the summer leaving fans of Sassuolo and the Azzurre rubbing their hands together.