Fiorentina righted the ship with two goals from the forwards, Stevan Jovetic and Luca Toni, and a nice, solid performance from Emiliano Viviano as they beat Parma at the Franchi 2-0.
The win, combined with Lazio and Inter losses, moved Fiorentina within a point of Inter and 4 points behind Lazio.
Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella had to field another different lineup, as Alberto Aquilani was serving the first game of a two match ban, but he also had the luxury of more depth, with David Pizarro back from injury, Mounir El Hamdaoui back from the Africa Cup of Nations and also thanks to the winter transfer market, with newcomers Marvin Commper, Rafal Wolski and Marcelo Larrondo on the roster for the match.
The starting lineup was populated with familiar players, with Viviano back in goal, Facundo Roncaglia, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Stefan Savic in defense. Juan Cuadrado filled in his usual role, with Giulio Migliaccio in Aquilani's spot., Pizarro, Borja Valero and Manuel Pasqual filled out the rest of the midfield. Luca Toni and Stevan Jovetic played the forward roles.
Former Italian National Team manager and well traveled Parma coach, Roberto Donadoni brought his squad to Florence in a respectable 10th place, although much of that had been done at home, where Parma had won 6 games, drew 4 and only had one loss. On the road, however, the way had been much harder, with 2 wins, 3 draws and 6 losses.
Parma fielded a 4-3-3 formation in front of Goalie Antonio Mirante, with Aleandro Rosi, former Viola Massimo Gobbi, Jamie Valdes and Gabriel Paletta in defense. Alessandro Lucarelli, another former Viola player, Marco Marchionni and Marco Parolo in the midfield and Ishak Belfodil, Nicola Sansone and Jonathan Ludovic Biabiany played forward.
The match started off in a lively fashion, with Parolo giving up a free kick in the second minute, which was turned into a corner for Fiorentina by Lucarelli but nothing came of it. Parma countered back with Gobbi trying a through ball, but Biabiany went offside.
In the 5th minute, Cuadrado won a free kick in the attacking half, but Migliaccio went offside on the free kick from Valero.
Fiorentina earned two more corners in the tenth minute and Toni had a shot blocked after a nice pass from Migliaccio for a third corner.
Parma countered after the third corner and Sansone earned a free kick as Roncaglia came out and rashly fouled him. Valdes took the free kick and Lucarelligot a header on goal, but Viviano was there for the save.
A few minute later, Belfodil got off a shot, from a cross by Biabiany, but Viviano made the save again, but conceded a corner. Fiorentina controlled the corner and were off to the races, but Cuadrado was caught offside on a through ball from Jovetic.
Over the next ten minutes, Parma missed a shot (Valdes), Savic got a header on goal from a corner kick from Valero, but it was right to the goalie, Toni had a shot from a Pasqual cross blocked, Sansone missed a shot and Belfodil forced another save from Viviano, before Fiorentina finally broke through.
In the 27th minute, Cuadrado crossed to a leaping Luca Toni who headed the ball into the corner past Mirante for the go ahead goal. It was the first goal by a Fiorentina forward since the winter break and only the fourth goal of the new year. The goal was Toni's 7th of the campaign.
Pizarro got a shot off from a pass by Jovetic three minutes later, but it was saved. Parma got off three more shots before halftime, a saved shot from Sansone, a blocked shot from Biabiany and a miss from Belfodil, but the half ended with a 1-0 advantage for La Viola.
Fiorentina owned a slight advantage in possession, 56.2% to 43.8% for Parma, but Parma led in shots, 8 to 5, with 4 shots on net to Fiorentina's 3. Parma had more fouls, 6 to 3 as ref Carmine Russo called a very loose game, letting a lot of contact and other plays go uncalled. Fiorentina had 6 corners to 2 for Parma.
Fiorentina came out in the second half and continued their attacking ways as Jovetic got off a shot 3 minutes into the half, although it was fairly wide of the net.
3 minutes after that, however, Migliaccio headed a ball to a charging Jovetic who clipped it nicely into the net for his 9th goal of the season and a 2-0 score.
Cuadrado got off a shot 3 minutes later, but missed wide. Belfodil got off a shot, but it was blocked on the way in and he was subbed out shortly thereafter, being replaced by a third former Viola player, Amauri. Coda also came in for Rosi.
Shortly thereafter, Fiorentina fans were celebrating once more as it appeared Toni had scored a second goal, only to find the officials had called a questionable offside.
In the 70th minute, Migliaccio was given a yellow card which will see him miss the next match. After match quotes by the coach and the player describe confusion on the play, as they don't really know what it was that he did.
Mounir El Hamdaoui came in at that point for Stevan Jovetic. Larrando came in a bit later for Toni and Christian Llama replace Valero before it was all over.
Parma only had two more shots, two misses, one from Biabiany and one from Amuari, while Fiorentina had five more shots in them, two from Rongcaglia and Cuadrado and one from El Hamdaoui.
Fiorentina concluded the match with 54.8 possession, but were out shot 13 to 14, although Fiorentina had 7 shots on net to only 4 shots on net for Parma. Parma were called for the bulk of the fouls, 13 to 8.
Parma stay in tenth place, while Fiorentina are in 5th, pending a late match with Milan and Udinese. A win for Milan would see Fiorentina drop to 6th.
Viviano(7) - 4 saves, a clean sheet and a very important victory on his first match back. At least one of the saves was a difficult one as well. Makes me feel a bit better about the goalie situation
Roncaglia(7) - one rash tackle, but another chance saving play. He was all over the field today, much more like the Facundo we saw in the early part of the season.
Rodriguez(6.5) - Much better play today, one particular play, he intercepted the ball, saved it from going out for a corner, saved it from going out of bounds and got the pass forward. Awesome play.
Savic(6) - Savic had an awkward first half, giving up the ball a few times and putting Fior in dangerous positions. Seemed to settle down later.
Cuadrado(7) - Classic Cuadrado style game. lots of charging, running around his defender, what wasn't typical was his passing, it was very good today. some great crosses. good to see.
Migliaccio (6.5) - nearly got another goal, but was offside. solid on defense, better than his man. Unfortunate that he got the yellow card and will miss the Juve match.
Pizarro (7.5) obviously he's the main man on this squad. the level of control Fior possess rises exponentially with his inclusion in the squad. he did have one bad pass that nearly gave up a goal.
Valero(7) - back to the old Valero, undoubtedly because he had his partner back. Cool and calm. Subbed late for Llama; Llama(NA)
Pasqual(6.5) - Started rough, two of his first three crosses went straight to the goalie. Settled down and played much better the rest of the match
Toni(7) - Nearly had a brace, seemed to have much more energy, was leaping and fighting for balls. Subbed late for Larrondo; Larrando(NA)
Jovetic(6.5) - nearly invisible for much of the first half, second half came out shooting right away and finally broke his dry spell. Going to need a lot more of him the rest of the season, but it was a good sign. Subbed for El Ham; El Hamdaoui (6) Had some selfish moments and complained when another player didn't serve him the ball, got off a shot that needed a save. Not a bad game back
Montella(6.5)- Got the team off the floor, had them ready to go. After the first goal, there was no drop off, Viola continued to press. after halftime they came right out looking to score and did so within five minutes, getting the insurance goal and, for all intents and purposes, closing the door on Parma. Got some players some rest ahead of Saturday's clash and got some of the kids some playing time.
Carmine Russo(5)- this guy seems the opposite of "normal" Italian refs. Seemed like he didn't want to call anything in the first half, including two handballs, one in the Parma box. his linesman may have missed a call on Toni's second goal and Migliaccio's yellow seemed a bit harsh.
Vincenzo Montella: "We are still up there and this shows how well we did in the past. We allowed a few too many spaces at the back."
Yellow Card Situation
Disqualification of one game after the 4th, 8th, 12th, 15th and the 17th yellow card. Past 17, every yellow card is equivalent to a one-match ban. (Players receiving yellow cards in this match have an *)
Migliaccio (4) * - Will miss the next match.
Jovetic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Tomovic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Valero (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Aquilani (2) - Red card and two match ban. Will miss the next match.
A huge match at Juventus, followed by another huge match at home against Inter. This could be a make or break two weeks.
Saturday, February 9 12:00 ET Juventus v Fiorentina
Sunday, February 17 2:45 ET Fiorentina v Internazionale
Sunday February 24 9:00 ET Bologna v Fiorentina
Sunday March 3 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Chievo Verona
Sunday March 10 3:45 ET Lazio v Fiorentina
Sunday, March 17 10:00 ET Fiorentina v Genoa