Fiorentina returned to Udine to commemorate Davide Astori with their fifth consecutive victory, but the Friulani set a new record.
This fixture was originally set for March 4, but was rescheduled after the sudden death of Fiorentina captain Davide Astori. He went to sleep in the team hotel in Udine the night before the game and never woke up. Clearly, returning to the Dacia Arena a month later was an emotionally-charged situation and at the 13th minute, like the Number 13 jersey he wore, he was remembered with his images on the screens and a standing ovation.
The Viola had bonded as a team after the tragedy, winning their next three games in a row and putting them back in contention for a Europa League place. New captain Milan Badelj was out after an injury on international duty, while Udinese missed Seko Fofana and Valon Behrami.
Despite a surge when Coach Massimo Oddo took over, that effect had evaporated and they have now lost seven top flight matches in a row for the first time in their history. Their last win was 1-0 away to Genoa on January 28 and the most recent home victory was 4-0 over Verona on December 23.
Fiorentina hadn’t won a Serie A match in Udine since the 1-0 result in November 2009, followed by a pair of 2-2 draws and five losses. They were also hoping to put together a run of five consecutive Serie A victories for the first time since October 2015.
Federico Chiesa curled the first effort inches wide from the edge of the box with that sweet left foot, then failed to make the most of a poor Albano Bizzarri clearance.
Udinese had a great opportunity on 18 minutes, turning between defenders to go clear on goal, but his shot was well parried by Marco Sportiello.
Chiesa was brought down by a clumsy Giuseppe Pezzella challenge as he ran on to the smart Diego Falcinelli back-heel flick and Jordan Veretout converted the resulting penalty to put Fiorentina ahead.
Ricky Saponara’s effort was charged down, but neither Falcinelli nor Chiesa could turn in the rebound.
After a dismal first half, Udinese introduced Jakub Jankto and Ingelsson, the former immediately stinging Sportiello’s gloves with a screamer that was flying into the top corner.
German Pezzella’s header whistled just wide from a Chiesa corner, but there was bad news for Fiorentina, as Chiesa picked up a yellow card and will be suspended against Roma.
Chiesa was involved in the second goal too, as he set up substitute Giovanni Simeone, who squirmed between defenders to fire his angled drive under a slow-diving Bizzarri.
Danilo’s awful back-pass was practically a gift to Marco Benassi, but one he spurned by firing straight at the goalkeeper one-on-one.
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