AAP Soccer

Heroic Empoli ‘keeper denies Atalanta

By AAP Newswire

European chasing Atalanta have failed to score despite 47 shots at goal in a draw with relegation threatened Empoli, who had record-setting goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski to thank for their Italian Serie A point.

According to Italian football's official stats provider Opta Paolo, Dragowski made an incredible 17 saves - more than any goalkeeper in Serie A since the 2004/05 season (when Opta began providing the data).

Lack of precision and the brilliant form of Empoli goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski denied the efforts of the sixth-placed Bergamo hosts, who are on 53 points and one point behind Roma for the direct place into the Europa League.

Fourth-placed AC Milan sit one point ahead of Roma and fill the last Champions League slot.

Promoted Empoli, who had several players injured, are 18th and in the three-team drop zone, two points off safety with six games remaining.

Polish 21-year-old Dragowski had an outstanding match as he kept the hosts at bay with at least half a dozen top-quality saves.

Hans Hateboer wasted Atalanta's best chance when he contrived to head over from point-blank range from Josip Ilicic's assist after nine minutes.

After that, Atalanta laid siege to the Empoli goal but a combination of poor finishing, free kicks into the wall, heroic defending by the visitors and Dragowski's heroics prevented them from scoring.

Alejandro Gomez, Duvan Zapata, Marten De Roon, Remo Freuler and Ilicic all tested Dragowski, who came up trumps.

Atalanta extended their unbeaten run to seven matches.