Laurini late show ends Samp hopes

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Milan (AFP)

Empoli defender Vincent Laurini headed his maiden Serie A goal eight minutes from the end to secure a 1-1 draw that dampened Sampdoria's hopes of a third consecutive win for the first time this season.

Sampdoria stopped a run of eight games without a win with victories against Frosinone and Verona only recently and looked to be in the driving seat when Fabio Quagliarella struck three minutes before the interval.

But Vincenzo Montella's visitors failed to capitalise on a series of subsequent chances and, at the end of a thrilling finale, were lucky to escape with a share of the spoils from the Castellani stadium.

Empoli won a free kick to the right of the area and in the 82nd minute Laurini foiled his marker at the back post to nod a bouncing header past Emiliano Viviano.

Viviano was called into action in the closing minutes but Empoli couldn't find a second goal that would have given them their first league win over Sampdoria since 2007.

Nevertheless, Empoli moved one place up to 10th above Chievo, who host AC Milan in Sunday's early game, with Samp stuck in 13th place.

Inter Milan will look to close the gap on third-placed Roma, and the league's last Champions League qualifying spot, when they host Bologna in Saturday's late game.

Champions Juventus beat Sassuolo 1-0 on Friday to stretch their lead at the top to six points, although Napoli can restore their three-point deficit with a win at Palermo on Sunday.