Five in a row for Fiorentina

Fiorentina maintain impressive push up the table with win against 10-man Atalanta as Inter are held by Cagliari.

    Five in a row for Fiorentina
    Aquilani scored twice and set up another goal as Fiorentina notched up their fifth straight match to tie with Napoli at third in the league table [GALLO/GETTY]

    Surging Fiorentina thrust themselves into the race for the European Champions League places with a 4-1 win over 10-man Atalanta on Sunday, while second-place Inter Milan needed a late own goal to draw 2-2 at home with Cagliari in Italy’s Serie A.

    Alberto Aquilani scored twice and set up another goal, and Gonzalo Rodriguez and Luca Toni also found the net as Fiorentina won their fifth straight match and extended their unbeaten run to seven.

    In Milan, Rodrigo Palacio put Inter ahead after 10 minutes but homegrown striker Marco Sau scored twice to push Cagliari in front before defender Davide Astori redirected a cross from Inter midfielder Ricardo Alvarez into his own net in the 82nd.

    Inter are four points behind league leaders Juventus, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Lazio on Saturday. Fiorentina are tied with Napoli one point further back.

    The top two finishers in Serie A qualify directly for the Champions League, while the third-place finisher enters the final round of playoffs.

    Seeing red

    Elsewhere on Sunday, there were numerous players and coaches sent off.

    Ten-man Bologna beat eight-man Palermo 3-0 in a match in which four players were sent off.

    Alberto Gilardino opened the scoring for Bologna, Manolo Gabbiadini doubled the lead and Alessandro Diamanti sealed the win with a penalty in the 53rd.

    Also, Siena beat nine-man Pescara 1-0 with a 31st-minute goal from Francesco Valiani, with Ante Vukusic missing a penalty for Pescara and Siena coach Serse Cosmi sent off; and Catania beat Chievo Verona 2-1 with a double from Sergio Almiron.

    Antonio Di Natale scored his eighth goal of the season for Udinese, but Raffaele Palladino equalised for Parma in the 89th for a 2-2 draw.

    Fiorentina, who beat AC Milan last weekend, went ahead with a shot from centre back Rodriguez that went in off the crossbar in the fifth. After Giacomo Bonaventura equalised for Atalanta with a goal that was clearly offside in the 32nd, Aquilani restored Fiorentina's lead in the 42nd with a curving free kick over Atalanta's wall.

    Atalanta's Luca Cigarini was given a debatable red card for a last-man foul on Juan Cuadrado in the 41st and Aquilani scored again shortly before half-time with a backheel, then provided the cross for Toni's header in the 49th.

    At the San Siro, Palacio headed in from an Antonio Cassano cross and then Sau found the target in the 43rd and 66th as Diego Milito wasted a series of chances for Inter.

    In added time, Inter argued for a penalty on defender Andrea Ranocchia and coach Andrea Stramaccioni was sent off for protests.

    SOURCE: AP


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