Fiorentina wins 3-2 at Atalanta, Roma beats Palermo 5-0
Feb. 21, 2016
MILAN (AP) — Fiorentina kept its grip on third place in Serie A with a 3-2 victory at Atalanta on Sunday, while Roma maintained its challenge for the final Champions League place with a 5-0 win against Palermo.
Mati Fernandez, Cristian Tello and Nikola Kalinic scoring for Fiorentina to help it stay four points clear of Inter Milan, which beat Sampdoria 3-1 on Saturday.
Roma is two points behind Fiorentina after two goals apiece from Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah, and another from Seydou Keita on an emotional night for Francesco Totti and Kevin Strootman.
Fiorentina's next two league matches are against title rival Napoli and Roma, after the second leg of a Europa League tie against Tottenham.
"We struggled to impose our style of play because of the conditions of the pitch," Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa said. "But we adapted well and got an important win, which will allow us to face the next two direct battles in a good position."
Sassuolo beat Empoli 3-2, with both teams reduced to 10 men in the first half. It moved above Lazio, which was held to a goalless draw at relegation-threatened Frosinone.
Elsewhere, Genoa fought back to win 2-1 at Udinese, which saw Ali Adnan become the first Iraqi player to score a goal in Serie A and had a last-minute penalty saved. Maxi Lopez also had a spot-kick saved as Torino was held 0-0 against Carpi.
It was an even match in Bergamo before Fiorentina finally broke the deadlock midway through the second half when Fernandez headed Tello's cross into the top left corner.
Tello got on the scoresheet himself nine minutes from time with his first goal for the Florence club. The on-loan Barcelona forward sprung the offside trap from near the halfway line and although his inital effort was saved by Marco Sportiello, he tucked away the rebound.
Atalanta got back in the match three minutes later when Andrea Conti bundled the ball in from a corner but Fiorentina restored its two-goal advantage following good play between substitutes Borja Valero and Kalinic, who started and finished the move.
Mauricio Pinilla netted for Atalanta in stoppage time, moments before Conti was sent off for a second yellow card for dissent.
Roma needed to win to keep up the pressure on Fiorentina but was in turmoil after club captain and fan favorite Totti criticized the club for a lack of respect.
There was an incredible show of support from the fans for Totti, who has spent his entire career at Roma, and the Italy World Cup winner — who was watching from the stands after being dropped following his outburst — was visibly moved.
"The matter is already in the past," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said. "He was in the stands to watch the game, went to the dressing room and tomorrow he will be in training. It was just a moment of anger and discomfort that is understandable because he feels he is still a footballer and wants to be that.
"If the greatest post-war player like him makes these comments, it turns into a big deal.. It's true he is a great champion and I must have respect for him, but I must also respect everyone else."
Dzeko opened the scoring on the half hour, moments after an incredible miss from the Bosnia and Herzegovina forward, who fired wide of an open goal from point-blank range.
Miralem Pjanic hit the post on the stroke of halftime before Keita and Salah extended Roma's lead.
Salah scored a stunning second on the hour, two minutes after his first goal. The Egypt international appeared to have taken the ball too close to the touchline but he somehow managed to curl it into the goal from an incredibly tight angle, near the byline.
Strootman made his comeback after more than a year out with injury and was greeted by deafening applause and a standing ovation, before Dzeko doubled his tally in the final minute.
"It's a great joy, finally I feel like a footballer again," Strootman said.
This story has been corrected to show that Pinilla scored the consolation for Atalanta, not Fiorentina.