EMPOLI, May 18 (Serie A) - Empoli were unable to avoid relegation despite a 2-1 victory over Tuscan rivals and already relegated Livorno on Sunday as results elsewhere went against them.
Antonio Busce gave the hosts an early lead which was doubled in the second half by Luca Saudati who also missed a penalty. Alessandro Diamanti pulled a late goal back for the visitors.
Empoli got off to a good start as they put their guests under some early pressure as just seconds after the whistle Claudio Marchisio picked out Luca Saudati with a decent cross from the right.
Saudati controlled the ball and half-volleyed straight at Livorno goalkeeper Alfonso De Lucia. Less than a minute later, at the other end Livorno enjoyed what was to prove a rare chance as Massimo Loviso fired a free kick into the Azzurri defensive wall from 25 yards.
In the eighth minute the hosts came close to taking the lead as Luca Antonini crossed from the left to Antonio Busce at the far post. The right-winger blasted straight at De Lucia between the posts.
The hosts' pressure paid off two minutes later as they took the lead through Busce.
Captain Ighli Vannucchi picked out Antonini with a long pass. De Lucia then rushed out to stop Antonini who fired weakly goal-bound from the left wing. Busce ran in to help the ball on its way, slotting home before the Amaranto defence could act.
Livorno's Daniele De Vezze looked to get his side back in the game in the 17th minute but his right-footed effort from 25 yards caused Empoli keeper Davide Bassi few problems.
Empoli threatened to make it 2-0 in the 25th minute as the lively Antonini volleyed just over the bar as he connected with a Busce cross.
Just before half-time Marchisio freed up Vannucchi on the left who tried to lob De Lucia but his effort was too weak and instead ended up in the arms of the goalkeeper.
After the break, Empoli were handed a chance to double the lead as Amaranto defender Matteo Melara handled in the box forcing a penalty. Saudati took the subsequent spot-kick but his right-footed effort hit the left post.
The striker soon made up for the miss as he found the back of the net in the 55th minute. He received an Alessandro Budel pass just inside the area before lobbing the ball into the left corner.
The visitors threatened in the 71st minute as substitute Diamanti weaved his way down the right before cutting inside and testing Bassi with a right-footed low shot.
A few minutes later Azzurri substitute Sebastian Giovinco set off on a run before feeding Busce whose shot was punched out for a corner by De Lucia.
The visitors pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute with a cracking effort from outside the area by Diamanti which took Bassi by surprise.
With three minutes of normal time remaining Giovinco forced another decent save from De Lucia in what was the last real action of the game.
The players left the field to applause for their efforts despite the news that they would be playing in the second division next season.