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Fiorentina 3-0 Udinese: Recap and highlights

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Fiorentina leapfrog Napoli and are back up to second place, just a point behind Inter Milan.

Can somebody please teach Davide Astori how to hug?
Can somebody please teach Davide Astori how to hug?
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

First half

Bologna beat Napoli before this one started, so Fiorentina knew that a win would see them go second. Paulo Sousa trotted out his first choice eleven except for Nenad Tomovic, who replaced Facundo Roncaglia at the back. Fiorentina started brightly, with Nikola Kalinic and Marcos Alonso both having good chances in the early going. Udinese also threatened sporadically, mostly with crosses from Fiorentina's right, with Emmanuel Badu popping up in the box unmarked a couple of times. The breakthrough came in rather unlikely fashion, though, on the other end: in the 26th minute, Milan Badelj latched onto a loose ball at the edge of the area and fired a low shot, which bounced off Kalinic and trickled in past a wrong-footed Karnezis.

Fiorentina spent the rest of the half in control, with Kalinic missing a golden opportunity to double the lead from an Alonso cross. All in all, la Viola had the ascendancy throughout, doing well to shrug off the close midfield marking of the Zebretti.

Second Half

Fiorentina came out flat, unable to string passes together and continuing to look uncomfortable with crosses. Perhaps sensing this, Stefano Colantuono brought on the legenday Antonio di Natale (who's totally in his last year for real this time, guys) to increase the pressure. But it was Fiorentina who doubled the lead in the 62nd minute, thanks to an excellent Josip Ilicic penalty after Badu crashed through Kalinic in the area.

Moments later, di Natale uncharacteristically skied a shot over from eight yards out, wasting Udinese's best chance of the game. The Friulians never really threatened after that, and Gonzalo Rodriguez glanced in a trademark header from an 86th minute Manuel Pasqual corner to complete the rout.

Next

Next game is a big Europa League match against Belenenses. Fiorentina has to win to have any chance of winning the group, and, with a loss, could end up being eliminated. Then, on Sunday, it's the trip to Turin to take on a suddenly in-form Juventus, which could end up having some serious implications for European qualification next year.