Empoli picked up a fourth successive Serie A win for the first time in their history as they beat Bologna 3-2 in a thrilling clash at the Renato Dall’Ara.
Marco Giampaolo’s side had won three games without conceding a goal heading into the match, but faced a home side on a resurgent run of form under Roberto Donadoni.
Manuel Pucciarelli gave Empoli the lead only for Franco Brienza to equalise and Maccarone’s first goal three minutes before half-time was almost immediately cancelled out by a fifth in six matches for Mattia Destro.
But Maccarone struck again just after half-time and the visitors held on to climb into the top six ahead of Sunday’s fixtures, just two points behind Rudi Garcia’s Roma.
Pucciarelli drilled in Riccardo Saponara’s cross in the 24 minute and hit the post just moments later, but Brienza blasted home following a free-kick to restore parity for Bologna.
Empoli snatched the lead again when Maccarone volleyed home Piotr Zielinski’s fine chipped pass – and celebrated his strike by sipping a fan’s beer on the sidelines – but Destro capitalised on poor communication at the back to slot home an equaliser right on half-time.
Captain Maccarone turned home Pucciarelli’s cross with a close-range header just after the break, taking his personal tally to four goals in two games, and this time Empoli held on to sustain their impressive recent record.