ACF Fiorentina boosted their hopes of securing European football next season by stunning title-chasers S.S.C. Napoli – extending their unbeaten run to five games in Serie A (SA).
Heading into this mouth-watering encounter, ‘Gli Azzurri’ were presented with an opening to propel themselves to the top of the table, at least for a few hours, with ‘l Viola’ chasing their own success, now being within touching distance of a European berth. Despite coming under pressure from the home side early on, Vincenzo Italiano’s men immediately took charge, and Cristiano Biraghi tested David Ospina for the first time, but the Fiorentina captain’s effort was thwarted by the Colombian goalkeeper.
‘l Viola’ continued to apply the pressure, and found the breakthrough in the 29th minute following a sublime team move, which concluded with Nicolás González rifling the ball into the roof of the net. Napoli promptly initiated an attack to pull themselves level, and saw Mário Rui masterfully manoeuvre his way into the box, only for his well-executed strike to agonisingly rattle against the crossbar.
Whatever Luciano Spalletti said in his HT team talk seemed to initially do the trick, as a boisterous Napoli ultimately pulled level in the 58th minute, when Dries Mertens, substituted onto the field just moments before, pulled the trigger from the edge of the area to set-up a fascinating final thirty minutes. Fiorentina wasted little time in restoring their lead, as eight minutes after Mertens appeared to give ‘Gli Azzurri’ some hope, Jonathan Ikoné drilled an unstoppable low hit into the right hand corner, capping off another fine team move from the visitors.
They added a third to their tally just minutes later, as Arthur Cabral’s solo drive and effort found its way past Ospina, leaving the home side startled and with an enormous mountain to climb. Napoli did manage to bag a consolation goal in the 84th minute, with Osimhen delightfully netting his 16th goal of the season, but the defeat now means Spaletti’s side have only won two of their last seven competitive outings at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.