October 28, 2012
Fiorentina 2-0 Lazio
Fiorentina needed two wonder goals to see off nine-man Lazio this afternoon in a Serie A game riddled with controversial refereeing decisions.
Adem Ljajic drove a rocket into Albano Bizzarri's net after referee Mauro Bergonzi had bizarrely ruled out his tap-in following Mati Fernandez's saved penalty.
Lazio rallied after the interval, but grew frustrated when Stefano Mauri's goal was ruled out for a contentious offside, with both Cristian Ledesma and Hernanes sent to the changing rooms as tempers began to fray.
Vincenzo Montella's men had kept their cool, though, and veteran striker Luca Toni rubber-stamped all three points with a ferocious strike at the death.
Fiorentina's victory sees them climb into fifth place in the league table, halving the six-point advantage of the capital club, who slip to fourth.
Bergonzi made his presence felt as early as the sixth minute, calling an infringement on Emiliano Viviano to halt play just as Abdoullay Konko had whipped in a dangerous cross.
Konko soon freed up Miroslav Klose, only for the German's radar to malfunction, but it was the Biancocelesti who would be sorely tested in the 21st minute.
Manuel Pasqual's free-kick was goalbound after taking a wicked deflection off the wall, but Bizzarri streaked across his line to palm the ball on to the upright.
The woodwork would come back to haunt the hosts six minutes later, Fernandez smacking his spot-kick against a post following Konko's clumsy foul on Pasqual.
Ljajic raced on to the rebound to gleefully tuck it away in front of the Viola faithful, but Bergonzi inexplicably blew his whistle to disallow the conversion.
But nothing was going to stop Ljajic from putting Fiorentina ahead just before the break.
After being the man on the end of a swift raid upfield, the Serbian dribbled around Alvaro Gonzalez to lash a thunderbolt into the top corner.
The Lazio side that had been so sluggish throughout the first 45 minutes came flying out of the traps when play resumed.
Klose wowed the crowd with his close control, pushing up to the by-line and picking out Antonio Candreva in the box.
Viviano smothered that shot with ease but he received a huge let-off moments later, Klose scooping Hernanes pinpoint pass wide when it had been easier to score.
Bergonzi further frustrated the visiting team when he ruled Mauri's headed goal out for offside, before reducing the Aquilotti to 10 men in the 75th minute.
After a long period of soul-searching, Bergonzi decided to hand Ledesma a second yellow card, but there was no deliberation over Hernanes' dismissal.
The Brazilian playmaker let his frustration go to his head and received his marching orders eight minutes from time courtesy of a cynical foul on Juan Cuadrado.
The Romans may have had cause to feel aggrieved by some of Bergonzi's decisions, but Fiorentina had merited all three points, and substitute Toni proved as much with a classy turn and finish on the stroke of full-time.