Cagliari earned a shock victory at the Stadio Franchi to badly damage Fiorentina’s Europa League hopes and climb out of the bottom three.
The Viola went into this weekend three points off sixth place, aware that Milan and Atalanta were going head-to-head this evening, so had to win in order to leap back into the race for a Europa League spot. However, Cagliari were in the bottom three and desperate to avoid the drop, with Luca Cigarini suspended, Leandro Castan and Damir Ceter injured.
The Sardinians had won only one of their previous 28 Serie A visits to the Stadio Franchi, drawing five and losing 22.
Davide Astori spent most of his career at these two clubs, so his family was in the stands, while before kick-off the two captains exchanged his Number 13 jersey.
Jordan Veretout skimmed the bar with a powerful effort, but Fiorentina risked an own goal when Veretout’s volleyed back-pass took Marco Sportiello by surprise and whistled just wide of an open goal.
It was Cagliari who surprisingly broke the deadlock, as Sportiello misjudged the Charalampos Lykogiannis free kick to find Leonardo Pavoletti unmarked, nodding in from a yard at the back post.
The Sardinians started the second half strong too and should’ve gone 2-0 up, but Diego Farias somehow turned a free header on to the crossbar from point-blank range.
Joao Pedro made his comeback, as the temporary ban had expired after he failed a doping test in February and the hearing isn’t until later this month. He immediately threaded through to release Farias, who again horribly wasted when clear on goal.
Federico Chiesa curled just wide and Paolo Faragò forced a tricky save from Marco Sportiello, but a brawl broke out deep into stoppages.
Veretout was sent off for a frustrated kick out at Joao Pedro, sparking a massive coming-together on the touchline.
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Sent off: Veretout 95 (F)