After wins for Napoli, AS Roma and Inter earlier in the weekend the pressure was on for Paulo Sousa's team as they looked to return to top spot in Serie A. Their opposition was Sampdoria, who were previously unbeaten all season at the Marassi. With an in form strike force of Luis Muriel and Eder, the blucerchiati were daunting opponents.
The game started at a frenetic pace, with both sides eager to assert their dominance. It soon became clear, however that Fiorentina were in good form and looked the more likely to score. On ten minutes, Fiorentina were awarded a spot kick when Ervin Zukanovic swiped the ball away with his hand in the penalty area. Josip Iličić stepped up to take and converted with ease, making it five out of five penalties that the viola have scored this season. There were some nerves when Milan Badelj, Matías Vecino and Gonzalo Rodríguez all received yellow cards in the first 15 minutes, but fortunately Fiorentina ended the game with all eleven men.
The Nikola Kalinić-Josip Iličić duo were working seamlessly once again, but the first half ended with Fiorentina just one goal to the good after Kalinić had two chances to score. He shot just wide with the first when he looked odds on to score and was ruled offside with the second after Iličić had put him through. Having dominated the first half and only scored one goal, it seemed like another goal early in the second half was imperative in order to seal the victory for the viola.
Any nerves were unfounded though, as Fiorentina continued their dominance after the break; with chances for hardworking Federico Bernardeschi and Matías Vecino before Kalinić made it 2-0, after (yes you've guessed it) Iličić provided the assist with a dangerous cross that flew across the box.
Aside from a nervy moment when Facundo Roncaglia inexplicably diverted a free kick deep in his own half sidewards onto an advancing Eder; forcing a great save from Ciprian Tătăruşanu, Fiorentina were comfortablly in charge for the rest of the game. Their passing game was sublime, and their team spirit evident.
Paulo Sousa's men now go into another international break level on points with Inter but top of the league thanks to a much superior goal difference. It is the style of play rather than the points tally, however that is making others sit up and take the most notice. Maybe now is the time to really start thinking of Fiorentina as genuine title contenders. But until Serie A resumes after the international break, there is time, at least, for another round of SAL-U-TA-TE LA CAPOLISTA!