Fiorentina boost Euro hopes
A review of this weekend's action so far in the Italian Serie A.
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Fiorentina rejoined the hunt for a Champions League place with a resounding 4-1 win over Inter Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Two goals apiece from Adem Ljajic and Stevan Jovetic earned the Viola all three points in arguably their most impressive performance of the season.
Vincenzo Montella's side gave Inter no chance at all in a totally one-sided game, although Antonio Cassano did restore some pride for Inter with a fine consolation goal in the 86th minute.
That was not enough to prevent Inter from ending the weekend behind their city rivals AC Milan, who they meet in the second Derby della Madonnina of the season next Sunday.
Napoli missed a golden opportunity to close the gap on leaders Juventus to just two points as plucky Sampdoria forced a goalless draw at the San Paolo.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero was in particularly inspired form as Delio Rossi's men claimed another valuable point in their mission to book a second season in Serie A, with Samp spurning several chances to win through young striker Mauro Icardi.
Napoli's forward line suffered from a rare lack of cutting edge and ended the day four points behind Juve, who were surprised by a 1-0 defeat to Roma on Saturday night.
Udinese lost ground in the race for Europe after two gilt-edged chances to force a draw went begging at the end of a 1-0 defeat at Genoa.
Davide Ballardini earned his second win since replacing Luigi Del Neri as Genoa boss when Juraj Kucka nodded the hosts ahead in the first half.
Udinese had won four games from six to finally reach seventh spot last week but both Mehdi Benatia and Alexander Merkel were guilty of missing easy chances in stoppage time, allowing Catania and Roma to climb above the Friulians for the time being.
Two goals from Marco Sau lifted Cagliari away from the Serie A relegation zone and left Pescara in real danger as the Sardinians won 2-0 at the Stadio Adriatico.
After a tight first half in which both sides took a cautious approach, understandably given the stakes, Cagliari emerged with more conviction and Sau struck twice early in the second half to earn the points.
Pescara ended the game with 10 men with Vladimir Weiss sent off in stoppage time as the home fans made their feelings heard.
An 87th-minute goal by Valter Birsa guided Torino against Atalanta to a 2-1 victory as they won for the first time in four games.
Alessio Cerci had put Torino ahead before German Denis made it 1-1 with a penalty in the 75th minute.
Catania returned to contention for a European place by edging a third consecutive home victory as they beat Bologna 1-0.
Sergio Almiron, who played on despite suffering an early knock, broke the deadlock just before half-time and the Elefanti held on to wrest seventh place back from Roma.
On Saturday, Francesco Totti won his personal battle with Gianluigi Buffon as Roma did a favour to their city rivals Lazio, and themselves, with a 1-0 win over leaders Juventus.
Totti's goal in the 58th minute was worthy of winning any match, and it left Buffon with no chance.
Miralem Pjanic's direct free-kick attempt was blocked by a Juve defender and the ball fell to Totti 25 yards from goal.
He did not think twice as he made perfect contact with the ball, rendering Buffon's dive unnecessary as the net was already rippling before the Italy number one even got near it.
Palermo moved off the foot of the table thanks to a 1-1 draw at Chievo in a game of two contrasting halves at the Stadio Marc'Antonio Bentegodi.
The Rosaneri took the lead in the fifth minute through Mauro Formica and it was a one-sided opening 45 minutes in which Palermo failed only to add a second goal.
Chievo responded well in the second half and found an equaliser through Cyril Thereau's penalty, but they were unable to find a winner despite creating the better chances.
On Friday night, Mario Balotelli scored for the third game in a row since joining AC Milan to help the hosts win 2-1 against Parma at the San Siro.
An own goal from Gabriel Paletta gave the Rossoneri the lead in the first half before Balotelli netted his fourth goal in just three games for his new club.
Nicola Sansone scored a consolation for Parma deep in stoppage time but there was no time for the visitors to scramble what would have been an ill-deserved second.