Vlahovic gets job done for depleted Juve

Dusan Vlahovic of Juventus reacts after winning the Serie A match between Empoli FC and Juventus at Stadio Carlo Castellani on February 26, 2022 in Empoli, Italy.

Dusan Vlahovic has scored twice as injury-depleted Juventus won 3-2 at Empoli to move to within seven points of Serie A leaders AC Milan.

Vlahovic netted his first goal on the stroke of halftime after Szymon Zurkowski had canceled out Moise Kean's opener for Juventus.

The 22-year-old Vlahovic doubled his tally and looked to have all but sealed the result in the 66th minute before a goal from Empoli substitute Andrea La Mantia led to a nervy finale.

Vlahovic will return to Fiorentina on Wednesday -- in the Italian Cup semifinals -- for the first time since his acrimonious departure last month.

My feelings are a bit mixed, I don't know what to say, we'll go there to play, he said.

"I thank Fiorentina wholeheartedly, I had wonderful years there and they will always be a part of me.

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri was without a number of key players, with Weston McKennie and Alex Sandro added to the ever-lengthening injury list.

Fiorentina failed to keep up the pressure on the top four, going down 2-1 at Sassuolo after an intense finale.

Hamed Traore scored the opener and also headed an effort onto the crossbar in the first half.

Fiorentina's hopes of getting something from the match appeared to have diminished when midfielder Giacomo Bonaventura was sent off 10 minutes from time, for a second yellow card for something he said to the referee after getting booked for a foul.

But fellow substitute Arthur Cabral slid in to net the equaliser with two minutes remaining and seemed to have snatched a point for La Viola before Gregoire Defrel's stoppage-time winner.

Fiorentina are eight points adrift of Juventus and the final Champions League berth.

New coach Davide Nicola's changes made an immediate impact as they helped bottom side Salernitana to a 1-1 home draw with Bologna.

It was a second draw in a row for Salernitana under Nicola's charge, following up the point picked against last week against leaders AC Milan.

Marko Arnautovic headed Bologna into the lead shortly before halftime but Nicola made a triple substitution in the 71st minute and seconds later all three players combined for Nadir Zortea to fire in the equaliser.

Nicola Sansone hit the crossbar for Bologna in the final minute but Salernitana edged to within seven points of safety.

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