Bologna temporarily moved up to eighth in the Serie A table thanks to their 1-0 Empoli victory at the Dall’Ara on Sunday afternoon, with Riccardo Orsolini scoring both goals.
Empoli, meanwhile, have returned to 19th place in Serie A and could touch the bottom of the table if Cagliari take a point against Fiorentina on Monday evening.
Somewhat surprisingly, the visitors had the more impressive record of the two teams before the tie, having won seven of their previous meetings against Bologna, although the 2023-24 season has already proven to be a bit of a challenge for Empoli.
In fact, Empoli’s 1-0 win over Salernitana in midweek provided the team’s first league goal of the season, as well as their first points. Bologna entered the tie after three consecutive goalless draws.
It took Bologna 21 minutes to open the score thanks to Riccardo Orsolini. A combination of a sloppy clearance and a moment of individual magic from the 26-year-old gave Thiago Motta’s side the lead.
Orsolini, banking on a Joshua Zirkzee knock-on, produced an impressive move to push the ball past him, before using the same foot to lift the ball over an onrushing defender, before snapping away. home into the nearest corner at point blank range.
After breaking his conduit for the 2023-24 season, Orsolini didn’t have to wait too long to add his second, then third, of the campaign.
Bologna had the greater share of shots during the first half, but both teams were tied in terms of shots on target with three each.
Empoli’s biggest threats in the first half came from corners and set pieces, although an early attempt into the box from Tyronne Ebuehi effectively called Lukasz Skorupski into action.
The visitors looked to equalize with a long-range free kick shortly after the restart, but Razvan Marin’s shot went over the bar.
Francesco Caputo recorded another shot on target for the visitors shortly after, latching onto Marin’s cross and forcing a fine save from Skorupski.
Bologna then had a great opportunity to take two leads, although Zirkzee was unable to take advantage of Dan Ndoye’s generous dismissal.
Bologna relied on Orsolini again to convert his second goal of the match, 66 minutes into the game and 21 minutes after the restart, almost exactly the same time it took him to score in the first half.
Orsolini was released and frankly had too much space and time in the box to pick his spot and send a curling effort into the center of the goal.
As the match approached its final exchanges, Orsolini appeared once more to complete his hat-trick, taking it with his favored left foot from the edge of the box, finding the bottom corner to complete a magnificent personal display, including in the second half.
Bologna will now turn their attention to arguably their toughest test of the season so far, facing league leaders Inter at the San Siro next weekend.
For Empoli, who find themselves once again in the relegation zone, a home The clash against Empoli on Friday offers the opportunity to reverse their difficult start to the season.