Fiorentina scores huge home win and Juventus’ Serie A lead gets trimmed to just one point

MILAN — Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa got his tactics spot on as he steered his side to a 2-1 win over Juventus, which saw the Serie A leader's advantage slashed to only one point on Sunday.

Juventus had been seven points clear of second-placed Roma after beating the Giallorossi, 1-0, on Dec. 17 and was seemingly on an unstoppable march to a record sixth straight Serie A title.

"Every match should be the big match for Fiorentina — with that attitude almost every team would struggle to beat us," Sousa said. "I don't think there is any doubt about the fact Fiorentina deserved this win.

"Beating the best gives you an extraordinary sensation and that should encourage us to continue to believe in our project."

Juventus has played a match less than most other teams due to the Italian Super Cup, which it lost on penalties to AC Milan.

"When you lose, you never feel good," Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "We had an awful first half, while we did better in the second and also had chances to equalize.

"They were very aggressive, but we made it easier for them with our mistakes ... Against Juventus every team plays the game of its life. We have to remain calm."

Fiorentina dominated from the start and Juventus was given an early warning when Matias Vecino, who had already seen an effort saved by Gianluigi Buffon, hit the left post in the 10th minute.

Fiorentina took a deserved lead in the 37th as Nikola Kalinic latched onto Federico Bernardeschi's through ball and slotted into the far bottom corner from a tight angle.

The hosts doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second half as a throw-in found Milan Badelj 30 yards (meters) out and he launched the ball toward Chiesa who attempted to meet it with an acrobatic effort as it bounced in. It was unclear whether Chiesa got a touch or not but his movement was enough to confuse Buffon.


The league's official website, which had initially awarded the goal to Chiesa, later credited it to Badelj.

Juventus reduced the gap three minutes later when Sami Khedira floated in a cross from the left and it came off opponents Stefano Sturaro and Maximiliano Olivera. Gonzalo Higuain was on hand to slot it home.

Juventus almost leveled in the 80th but Higuain's header was stopped by the legs of Fiorentina goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu and Giorgi Chiellini's attempt from the rebound was blocked before the ball was finally cleared.

Paulo Dybala also blazed over the bar from a good position.

It was only Fiorentina's second home win over Juventus since 1998.


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