TURIN, April 6 (Serie A) - Ighli Vannucchi popped up with the winner three minutes from time as Empoli moved off the foot of the Serie A standings with a priceless away victory at Torino.
The result marks a superb start for returning Empoli coach Luigi Cagni, who was re-appointed by the Tuscan club after the dismissal of Alberto Malesani, who replaced Cagni at the helm in November.
The three points lift Empoli above Cagliari and Reggina and on to 29 points, although Cagni's troops remain in the relegation zone due to an inferior goal difference compared to 17th-placed Livorno.
Torino's 10th defeat of the campaign leaves them five points clear of the drop zone with just six games remaining.
Torino will consider themselves unfortunate to come away with a defeat after dominating the first 45 minutes, and there were just four minutes on the clock when the hosts carved out their first chance.
Alvaro Recoba's superb run took him past three defenders but Alessandro Rosina could only fire wide when the Uruguayan picked him out with a precise pass.
After six minutes the hosts were pressing again, this time Marco Motta delivering a fine cross for Recoba to volley but Empoli goalkeeper Daniele Balli got down to make the save.
The hosts should have gone ahead after 14 minutes when Aimo Diana's shot clipped Empoli's Vittorio Tosto on its way through and Balli fumbled the save, but Roberto Stellone was wasteful with the follow-up, firing over the bar with the net yawning.
On 32 minutes Motta hit a sweet volley from 25 yards that rattled the right post, while four minutes later Recoba curled in a free-kick from the same distance that again shook the frame of the Empoli goal.
Empoli finally carved out their first chance of note three minutes after the restart, Antonio Busce's right-wing cross picking out Luca Saudati who skimmed the post with a diving header.
On 60 minutes Saudati conspired to fire wide when unmarked in the Torino box, while on 70 minutes the hosts might have gone ahead when Stellone's shot from 10 yards was well saved by Balli.
Vannucchi served notice of what was to come when he fired in a shot from the left on 77 minutes that Matteo Sereni kept at bay, while the Torino goalkeeper again had to be on his toes to deny substitute Sebastian Giovinco's long-range effort three minutes later.
Empoli were now dominating the game and on 86 minutes Giovinco's 25-yard free-kick forced another save from Sereni.
And the visitors were finally rewarded for a much-improved display in the second period when the impressive Giovinco played in Vannucchi who beat Sereni from close range to seal three points for the returning Cagni.