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Empoli 0-4 Cagliari

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Cagliari leapfrogged Empoli in the Serie A standings thanks to an emphatic 4-0 win in Tuscany on Saturday afternoon.

Four goals in 15 minutes leading up to half-time did the damage for the visitors, with the hosts doing their best to recover in the second period but unable to prevent a third loss of the season.

Marco Sau put Zdenek Zeman's men in front before two goals from Danilo Avelar, the second from the penalty spot, and an Albin Ekdal strike sealed the points for the Sardinians.

True to the attacking philosophy of their coach, Cagliari have now scored 13 goals this term - just one fewer than Juventus and Roma.

There was no real sign of what was to come during a first half-hour which was controlled by the home team.

Massimo Maccarone and Francesco Tavano, the two strikers who had helped earn Empoli promotion last season, showed their menace, albeit without finding a way through a Cagliari defence which had already shipped 11 goals this campaign.

Cagliari then struck in the 31st minute with Sau controlling the ball well, turning and beating Davide Bassi with his shot.

Five minutes later, Sau was fouled just outside the penalty area and Avelar curled in a direct free-kick which hit the underside of the crossbar on its way in.

Goal number three was only two minutes away with another foul, this time by Mirko Valdifiori on Ekdal inside the penalty area, giving Avelar an even more straightforward chance to score from the spot. Having succeeded even with a wall to get past, Avelar made it look easy with only Bassi to beat to add his second of the game.

Just before half-time, Ekdal made it four, showing excellent strength to force his way between two defenders before cutting his shot back into the far corner, effectively finishing off Empoli.

The Tuscans tried to recover some pride in the second half with Tavano denied in a one-on-one situation by Alessio Cragno.

As time passed, though, they lost belief and started to save energy for Tuesday's clash with Sassuolo, while Cagliari picked up a confidence boost for the midweek visit of AC Milan.

ends

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