Fiorentina beat nine-man Lazio in a fiery and controversial match that saw a missed penalty, two screamers, an incorrectly disallowed goal and two red cards.
There were many layers to this clash, as it was a battle for Europe between two of the surprise outfits of the season so far and a form of derby for ex-Roma Coach Vincenzo Montella. Lazio needed a boost after they threw away a lead to be held 1-1 by Panathinaikos on Thursday, but missed Ederson, Marius Stankevicius, Federico Marchetti and the suspended Giuseppe Sculli. Fiorentina had David Pizarro and Facundo Roncaglia banned, while Michele Camporese was on the treatment table, so Ruben Olivera stepped in for the Chilean.
Fiorentina thought they had scored on 21 minutes with a spectacular Manuel Pasquale free kick that took a slight deflection off the wall, but did not count on Albano Bizzarri’s amazing save. The goalkeeper flew across the face of goal and palmed it out of the top corner with his trailing hand, but in doing so clattered into the upright at full force.
Abdoullay Konko gave away a blatant penalty when he went sliding in to trip Pasqual on the slippery turf. Mati Fernandez stepped up and smacked his spot-kick against the upright! He then tried to put the ball back in, but did not realise the rules bar him from resuming play if nobody else touches it. Fiorentina have now failed to convert two penalties this season, the other saved from Jovetic.
Ljajic curled a free kick off target, but the Viola seemed shell-shocked from their penalty howler.
It was up to teen Ljajic to shake them out of it with a sensational goal in first half stoppages! He gathered at the end of a well-worked move on the edge of the box, dribbled round Alvaro Gonzalez and smashed a screamer into the near top corner.
Ljajic attempted a scorpion flick at the dawn of the second half, but did not take Bizzarri by surprise. Klose went on a strong forward move and crossed for Antonio Candreva, whose header was too weak to beat Emiliano Viviano.
Klose again threatened when he combined with Hernanes in a give-and-go to enter the area, but the German veteran prodded the finish wide with the outside of his boot.
Lazio did get the ball in the back of the net on 59 minutes with a wonderful Mauri diving header, but it was flagged offside. Replays showed it was a terrible decision from the linesman, as Juan Cuadrado was keeping him level.
The Biancocelesti were now dominating and Hernanes’ effort was deflected off target. Fiorentina had penalty appeals for Giuseppe Biava’s sliding tackle on Jovetic, which certainly looked more than a little dubious.
Luca Toni came off the bench and immediately had two chances, his head skimming a Borja Valero cross and prodding a Cuadrado cross over with his shin.
Lazio went down to 10 men with Cristian Ledesma’s second yellow card for a pointless and very rough foul in midfield.
The Biancocelesti were reduced to nine, as Hernanes was shown a straight red card for scissoring Cuadrado’s ankles with a blatant foul.
Biava performed a goalline clearance to keep out Toni’s trademark header in the final minute.
However, Toni did find his goal moments later with a spectacular strike from the veteran hitman. He gathered with his back to goal and a defender behind him from six yards, but flicked it up and spun round on a sixpence to smash home.
Missed penalty: Fernandez 26 (F)
Sent off: Ledesma 75 (L), Hernanes 82 (L)