Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic each scored as Fiorentina moved into the top four of Serie A with a crucial 2-0 win over rivals Lazio at a sodden Stadio Olimpico.
Jovetic opened the scoring in the first half with a beautiful finish from 20 yards.
Ljajic doubled the advantage and put the game beyond Lazio with a superb free-kick five minutes into the second half.
The result means Fiorentina leapfrog Lazio and Inter Milan, who lost to Bologna, as the race for European football intensifies.
Heavy rainfall in Rome meant there were fears the game would not go ahead, but the pitch held out better than expected ahead of this crucial clash.
Lazio were without the suspended Antonio Candreva and the injured trio of Miroslav Klose, Abdoullay Konko and Cristian Brocchi – and it showed as Fiorentina made a bright start. Jovetic could easily have put Fiorentina a goal up inside eight minutes when Manuel Pasqual whipped in a teasing cross from the left, but the Montenegrin striker could only prod his shot wide from close range.
While Lazio looked good in flashes, Fiorentina were far more consistent in front of goal, carving out clear chances – first for Ljajic then Juan Cuadrado. But when the Viola eventually got their noses in front, there was no surprise who delivered the blow. Collecting the ball on the edge of the box after Borja Valero’s smart dummy, Jovetic coaxed the ball beautifully into the bottom corner to provide a reminder of why he is being linked to Europe’s top clubs.
Fiorentina came flying out of the blocks at the start of the second half and put the game beyond the Rome side with another emphatic strike – this time from their other forward. Four minutes into the second half, Ljajic bent a lovely free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner to double the visitors’ lead.
Only after falling two goals behind did Lazio finally made Emiliano Viviano work in the Fiorentina goal. First Hernanes went close with a free-kick, then Sergio Floccari swivelled well but could only drill a low volley straight at the goalkeeper following Stefan Savic’s poor defensive header.
Floccari could have claimed an injury time consolation for Lazio, but his shot was saved brilliantly by Viviano from point blank range as the keeper kept a clean sheet and Fiorentina, who could have scored more on the night, ran out comfortable winners.
- Sports & Recreation