Patrick Cutrone made his debut and SPAL wasted some great chances, but German Pezzella gave Fiorentina a much-needed victory.
The Viola made their debut under new coach Beppe Iachini last week and almost emerged with victory until Bologna’s stoppage-time equaliser. As for SPAL, they were rock bottom with Nenad Tomovic suspended, Mohamed Fares and Marco D’Alessandro injured.
Patrick Cutrone was on the Fiorentina bench following his transfer from Wolves this week, but Franck Ribery still a long way off fitness after surgery.
There was a late change of referee, as Federico La Penna was taken ill, so Daniele Doveri inherited the whistle.
Kevin-Prince Boateng had the ball in the back of the net after six minutes, but it was disallowed, as German Pezzella was already offside before the Ghanaian turned in the rebound from his attempt.
The tempo from both teams was very sluggish, but there was a burst of pace when Pol Lirola pulled back from the right, Gaetano Castrovilli took a touch to go beyond the defender and his powerful shot was denied by Etrit Berisha at the near post.
SPAL also threatened, Igor’s low ball flashing across the six-yard box with Andrea Petagna sliding in just unable to make contact.
The visitors slowly took control of the game as the first half wore on and Dias Felipe failed to make the most of a free header against his old club.
In first half stoppages, Fiorentina were very lucky, as Gabriel Strefezza’s cross-shot bounced off the far post and Felipe bundled the rebound wide from a yard.
Dusan Vlahovic replaced Boateng for the second half and made an immediate impact, as his pull-back from the by-line was just behind Chiesa, who could only fire over when off balance.
Nikola Milenkovic’s volley was charged down in the crowd, but SPAL again went very close with a Mattia Valoti chip shaving a coat of paint off the far post.
The deadlock was eventually broken from a set play, as German Pezzella towered above everyone for his header on a corner, with the aid of a slight deflection off Valoti.
Cutrone made his debut after the move from Wolves and almost scored a stunner, his back-heel flick just wide at the near post on Lirola’s low cross.
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