Fourth-placed Fiorentina fell to a surprise defeat in Cagliari thanks to Mauricio Pinilla’s penalty.
The Viola gave Anderson his first start after the move from Manchester United, but missed Mario Gomez, Giuseppe Rossi, Nenad Tomovic and Massimo Ambrosini. The Sardinians were stunned last week, losing 2-1 to Milan after leading until the 86th minute. Andrea Cossu was banned with Victor Ibarbo in hospital after emergency surgery for appendicitis.
As usual, only 5,000 fans were allowed into the Stadio Sant’Elia due to reconstruction work and safety concerns.
Neto had to smother at Mauricio Pinilla’s feet on the Marco Sau counter-attack, but the Fiorentina goalkeeper almost gave away an early goal. He dropped a Nicola Murru cross and was very quick to react getting back up to parry Mauricio Pinilla’s shot from point-blank range.
Alessandro Matri, who shot to fame at Cagliari, repeatedly fell foul of the offside trap. Daniele Dessena’s wayward shot turned into an assist for Albin Ekdal, who at full stretch just failed to get the final touch.
There were precious few scoring opportunities in the first half, but Cagliari were awarded a penalty when Sau sprung the offside trap and was tripped by a mistimed Facundo Roncaglia tackle. Pinilla blasted the spot-kick past Neto to give the hosts the lead. It was also the first penalty Cagliari successfully converted this season after missing two.
Mati Fernandez curled a free kick over the bar, but the Viola continued to seem uninspired. Borja Valero replaced debutant Anderson, who wears the ‘Andow’ jersey, to inject some creativity into the side.
Gonzalo Rodriguez’s header from a corner was plucked out of the air by Vlada Avramov as it developed into an end-to-end game. The more Fiorentina pushed forward, the bigger the gaps they left for counters, such as the Dessena one that stung Neto’s palms.
Avramov smothered David Pizarro’s snapshot, then Matri fired straight at the goalkeeper after Borja Valero squeezed a pass through a crowd of legs.
Pinilla tested Neto at the near post and Matias Vecino made his Cagliari debut against his former club just 48 hours after completing the transfer. Adryan was given his first taste of Serie A, but Stefan Savic risked an own goal in the final minute with a dreadful shinned clearance.
Ekdal threatened to make it 2-0 on the counter in stoppages, but his shot clipped the upright from a tight angle.