Luca Toni’s goal gave Fiorentina a win that keeps them in the race for third, but sends his former club Palermo into Serie B.
The Viola’s hopes of catching Milan in third were looking bleak, but they remained solidly in fourth place and welcomed a Palermo side on the verge of relegation. Adem Ljajic continued his two-match ban for insulting officials, joined by the injured Marcelo Larrondo, Momo Sissoko and Michele Camporese. The Sicilians were without Josip Ilicic, Mauro Boselli, Diego Fabbrini and the suspended Edgar Barreto.
Fiorentina went close after five minutes when Juan Cuadrado’s cross for Luca Toni was flapped away, then as the move continued a Stevan Jovetic snapshot was palmed out.
Emiliano Viviano, who is on loan from Palermo, had to parry a Jasmin Kurtic strike. Ezequiel Munoz wasted a golden opportunity with a free header from a corner, turning it into the ground so it bounced over the bar.
The Sicilians wasted another chance from a free kick, as Kurtic scuffed the shot after finding space. From that corner, Munoz again nodded off target. The crowd was furious in Florence when Faurlin barged Juan Cuadrado over just outside the box, but the referee waved play on.
Jovetic had the ball in the net, but was clearly offside when Mati Fernandez’s shot was parried into his path, while a Manuel Pasqual free kick whistled inches wide.
Stefano Sorrentino palmed a fierce Jovetic free kick round the base of the near post, then from the corner Jovetic failed to connect properly with a free header and Toni nodded a Pasqual cross over the bar.
Fiorentina broke through on 41 minutes with a well-worked goal. Borja Valero’s splendid pass through the inside of the defender sent Cuadrado down the right and the taut cross found Toni sliding in with help from a deflection off Munoz.
Abel Hernandez tried to fight back, drilling wide from distance, but Palermo looked psychologically shaken.
The skies opened in Florence over half-time, as a thunderstorm suddenly erupted. Jovetic and Borja Valero both fired just wide of the near stick in quick succession, while Massimo Donati’s long-range effort was deflected out for a corner.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to play in these conditions and Toni turned off target to skim the upright. Cuadrado wasted a golden opportunity when misplacing the roll across for Toni, who was just waiting to tap in.
Viviano dived into a puddle to parry Nicolas Viola’s attempt and Toni headed straight at Sorrentino from six yards after a deflected free kick.
Palermo remained dangerous from set plays and Munoz turned another glancing header wide from a corner and in the final minute Miccoli’s free kick whistled past the near post.