Federico Chiesa ran the length of the pitch to set up Marco Benassi’s scorching half-volley, as Fiorentina saw off Udinese.
The Viola were brimming with confidence after a 6-1 demolition of Chievo and fielded an unchanged XI, but Udinese had Rolando Mandragora suspended after he was caught on camera uttering a blasphemous phrase – the worst swearing in the Italian language – so Ignacio Pussetto was given his first start.
Udinese have now lost their last 12 consecutive trips to Florence, since a 2-1 victory here in November 2007.
It was a strong start from the hosts, but Marco Benassi’s first touch let him down from six yards on a marvellous Federico Chiesa cross-field pass.
Chiesa went on a remarkable run from midfield, shaking off several rough tackles until the referee finally awarded a free kick, from which Valentin Eysseric skimmed the near post.
Eysseric attempted an audacious overhead kick, but should’ve left the cross for Cristiano Biraghi in a better position behind him and the finish went over the bar.
Edimilson accidentally gave it away in the final third, Rodrigo De Paul drilling wide, but Chiesa continued to run at the Udinese defence and tested Simone Scuffet with a powerful cross-shot at the near post.
Gerson and Biraghi had attempts from distance, but failed to find the frame of the goal. There was a surprise switch at half-time, as Fiorentina goalkeeper Albin Lafont picked up an ankle injury, replaced by Bartolomej Dragowski. Neither German Pezzella nor Nikola Milenkovic could get on the end of a Biraghi corner flicked on by Gerson to the back post.
Benassi failed to make the most of a smart Eysseric slide-rule pass, firing straight at Scuffet, while Biraghi skimmed the upright from the edge of the box.
The Viola finally broke through thanks to a double moment of magic. An Udinese corner came to Chiesa, who surged forward from his own half and rolled through for Benassi, who managed to blast the half-volley into the roof of the net from an extremely tight angle. It was his third goal in two Serie A games this season.
Chiesa almost added another in the final minute, stinging Scuffet’s gloves at the near post.
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