Nikola Kalinic once again snatched victory for Fiorentina in the final minute in a heart-breaking home defeat for Crotone.
This season was beginning to look like a bust for both sides. The Squali were in penultimate place and eight points adrift of the safety zone, while the Viola had crashed out of the Europa League, Coppa Italia and were far off the pace for a top six finish. Federico Bernardeschi was still nursing an ankle problem with Nenad Tomovic suspended. The hosts missed Claiton Dos Santos, but Aleandro Rosi and Federico Ceccherini returned from bans to bolster the defence.
Their only previous meeting was a surprise 1-1 draw at the Stadio Franchi in October.
Crotone had a surprisingly strong start with Diego Falcinelli’s header from a corner landing on the roof of the net, but Alex Cordaz had to readjust for a reaction save when Nikola Kalinic redirected a Josip Ilicic effort from close range.
Fiorentina came out of their shell and Ilicic was unlucky to smack his finish against the upright with one of his trademark curlers from distance.
Barberis made a brave block to charge down Kalinic’s shot one-on-one, but Crotone also rattled the frame of the goal with Falcinelli’s strike from the edge of the box on the hour mark.
Ciprian Tatarusanu needed an unorthodox save on a double ricochet, including his foot.
Kalinic thought he had scored on 73 minutes when he side-footed a volley from five yards, but Cordaz managed an extraordinary reaction save.
Just as Crotone thought they had scraped a point, Riccardo Saponara’s ball over the top was allowed to bounce and Kalinic chipped it past the on-rushing Cordaz for the Fiorentina winner.