Goals from Josip Ilicic, Borja Valero and Joan Verdu secured a 3-0 win over Atalanta on Sunday as Fiorentina maintained their purple patch to go two points clear of Inter Milan at the top of Italy’s Serie A, while Juventus beat Bologna 3-1 and Napoli crushed AC Milan 4-0.
On the day, stuttering champions Juventus finally ended their quest for a first home win at the fourth attempt, Fiorentina showed their 4-1 humiliation of early season pacesetters Inter Milan last week was no flash in the pan. La Viola now sit two points ahead of Inter with Lazio, who saw Keita Balde and Filip Djordjevic strike late to secure a precious 2-0 win at home to Frosinone, moving up to third, a point further adrift.
Roma own fourth spot, one more point back, while Napoli moved up to sixth place, Maurizio Sarri’s men now just six points adrift after a crushing 4-0 win over AC Milan at the San Siro. Allan opened the scoring after just 13 minutes and Lorenzo Insigne hit a second half brace before Rodrigo Ely’s own goal in the 77th minute prompted AC Milan fans to leave the San Siro in droves as they suffered their worst defeat of the campaign so far.
Eyebrows were raised among Fiorentina’s fans when former FC Basel coach Paulo Sousa was brought in to replace Vincenzo Montella following his sacking at the end of last season. But the Portuguese coach, a former midfielder who spent two season at Inter Milan, has won fans and pundits over quickly.
A week after seeing an early opener from Ilicic and a hat-trick from Croatia striker Nikola Kalinic destroy Inter, Ilicic was on target from the spot after just six minutes after Gabriel Paletta saw red for a foul on Jakub Blaszczykowski. Spanish forward Valero doubled Fiorentina’s lead by the 34th minute and Verdu came off the bench to convert Kalinic’s assist at the death as Fiorentina claimed their sixth win in seven games.
Champions Juventus remain well off the pace at ten points adrift, but a convincing 3-1 win over newly-promoted Bologna helped the stuttering Bianconeri turn the corner amid what has been a woeful start to the campaign. On Sunday, fans must have been fearing it was deja vu when Anthony Mounier’s strike rolled past Gianluigi Buffon in the fifth minute, although the ‘keeper’s blunder was plain to see.
But a superb header from Alvaro Morata levelled the game on 33 minutes and, after Paulo Dybala’s 53rd minute penalty, Sami Khedira wrapped up the points with his maiden league goal for the club ten minutes later to restore fans’ belief.
Earlier Sunday, Inter claimed an undeserved share of the points in a 1-1 draw away to Sampdoria, who spurned several great chances in the opening half before and after Luis Muriel’s 51st minute opener. Croatian midfielder Ivan Perisic came to Inter’s rescue in the 75th minute when he stuck his foot out to guide the ball past Emiliano Viviano in the Sampdoria goal.
Fellow scudetto hopefuls Roma made amends for their 3-2 UEFA Champions League defeat away to BATE Borisov with a resounding 4-2 win at Palermo, where Gervinho notably hit a brace to confirm his return to form after nearly a year without a league goal.