ROME (AP) — Claudio Ranieri won his first game back in charge at Roma but it was far from comfortable.
Stephan El Shaarawy and Patrik Schick scored in the first half, and relegation-threatened Empoli’s late equalizer was disallowed on video review as Roma held on to win 2-1 on Monday.
Captain Alessandro Florenzi was sent off 10 minutes from time following a second booking, and Empoli’s Rade Krunic almost made the advantage count before the video assistant referee determined the ball hit Dimitri Oberlin in the arm just before the goal.
Roma moved three points behind fourth-place Inter Milan, with the top four from Serie A qualifying for the Champions League. Empoli remained a point above the relegation zone.
Ranieri was appointed as interim coach on Friday, a day after Roma fired Eusebio Di Francesco following elimination from the Champions League and a derby defeat to Lazio. In charge of Roma from 2009-11, Ranieri was fired by Fulham of the Premier League on Feb. 28.
His second spell got off to a good start. El Shaarawy fired Roma in front in the ninth minute when he curled a stunning effort into the top right corner, but Empoli leveled in somewhat comical fashion three minutes later as Juan Jesus headed the ball into his own net under very little pressure.
Empoli almost immediately scored a second, but Manuel Pasqual’s free kick bounced off the top left corner of the goal.
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Roma took the lead again in the 33rd minute as Florenzi floated in a free kick from outside the right side of the penalty area and Schick headed it into the bottom left corner.
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