Giuseppe Rossi bagged a brace, but Fiorentina were almost made to pay for complacency when beating Sampdoria 2-1.
The Viola were in spectacular form despite the on-going absence of Mario Gomez, fresh from a 100 per cent record in the Europa League and a 2-0 victory away to Milan. Massimo Ambrosini missed out in midfield and David Pizarro was only fit for the bench. Delio Rossi returned to face his former club and he was hanging by a thread following a 4-3 home defeat to Sassuolo. Daniele Gastaldello and Andrea Costa were suspended.
Borja Valero blasted just wide in the opening couple of minutes, while Giuseppe Rossi and Mati Fernandez also threatened.
The referee pointed to the spot when Gaetano Berardi brought down Alberto Aquilani as a set piece was whipped in. Rossi stepped up and cheekily rolled it low in at the near corner past Junior Da Costa to consolidate his Capocannoniere status.
Rossi doubled both his tally and the Viola’s lead with a sensational goal. He gathered outside the D and picked his spot, curling into the far top corner in a very Alessandro Del Piero style goal.
Neto smothered a scuffed Berardi volley, but it was all Fiorentina and Rossi’s shot with his weaker right foot was deflected over by Shkodran Mustafi.
Juan Guillermo Cuadrado caused constant panic whenever he tried to get to the by-line, as Samp put two or three defenders on the Colombian. Cuadrado spun between four players in the box and still managed to pass it to a teammate.
Junior Da Costa got down well with one hand to push a Mati Fernandez strike round the near post and smothered Aquilani’s attempt, as the hosts were playing for fun now against a downhearted Samp.
However, Fiorentina got too complacent and let the tempo drop, allowing Sampdoria a counter-attack goal with Manolo Gabbiadini. Eder sparked the move and Gabbiadini got in front of Stefan Savic to turn in.
Suddenly, the Blucerchiati were back in it and Pawel Wszolek’s snapshot flew inches over the bar with Neto scrambling.
In stoppages the crowd thought Sampdoria had equalised, but Nicola Pozzi’s glancing header from a corner only skimmed the far post.