Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic silenced the Olimpico crowd as Fiorentina won this head-to-head for Europe, leapfrogging Lazio and Inter into fourth place.
This was a showdown for European qualification with only two points separating the teams and the Biancocelesti were fresh from a 2-0 Europa League win in Stuttgart on Thursday. Antonio Candreva was suspended with Miroslav Klose, Abdoullay Konko and Cristian Brocchi injured. Giulio Migliaccio stepped in for the suspended Alberto Aquilani, but Michele Camporese, Giuseppe Rossi and Mounir El Hamdaoui were out.
Heavy rainfall in Rome meant there were fears the game would not go ahead, but the pitch held out better than expected.
Stevan Jovetic really should’ve scored when a Manuel Pasqual cross was whipped in from the left and Lorik Cana missed the intervention, but he ballooned off target from six yards.
Juan Cuadrado’s screamer was well smothered by Federico Marchetti and the pressure paid off as Fiorentina broke the deadlock.
Adem Ljajic went down the left and pulled across for Borja Valero on the edge of the box, whose dummy let the ball roll through for Jovetic to hit a powerful daisy-cutter that arrowed into the near bottom corner.
A corner came to the back post where Jovetic’s shot was charged down for a corner by Senad Lulic. There was an odd moment when teammates Andre Dias and Stefan Radu appeared to be arguing, complete with some pushing and shoving.
Ederson tested Emiliano Viviano at the base of the near stick, but it was mainly Fiorentina and a crucial Lorik Cana interception stopped Jovetic pulling the trigger.
Andre Dias really should’ve scored when a corner ricocheted into his path, but he hesitated and scuffed the awful finish into the ground.
An Alejandro Gonzalez screamer smacked into the head of Stefan Savic and went out for a corner, from which Viviano smothered a Dias header.
There was chaos before the break as Lazio poured forward on a rapid counter, Lulic spread for Cristian Ledesma, whose wayward shot turned into an assist that caught Ederson by surprise.
Vladimir Petkovic threw on centre-forward Libor Kozak for Ederson, but Cana was again decisive in tackling Cuadrado as he tried to run all the way from the centre-circle.
Fiorentina doubled their lead with a magnificent free kick, as Ljajic curled it over the wall and into the far bottom corner. Marchetti appeared to be unsighted and there was a wicked bend on that shot.
The rainstorm became heavier in the second half and Viviano flew to palm a long-range dipping Hernanes free kick out from under the bar.
Sergio Floccari pounced on a poor Savic header clear for his volley to bounce off Viviano’s chest and Marchetti smothered David Pizarro’s attempt from distance.
Stefano Mauri made his comeback a month after a bizarre injury, as he sprained his ankle when treading on the ball during a goal celebration.
Fiorentina kept the ball for long periods and Cana got irritated, booked for clattering into Pizarro at the touchline. Eddy Onazi’s blockbuster whistled just wide and in stoppages Viviano used his legs to parry from a corner.