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Serie A heavyweights head-to-head

50-50 Challenge 2 days ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 17, 2013

Viola thrash Inter, Samp frustrate Napoli

Fiorentina rejoined the hunt for a Champions League place with a resounding 4-1 win over Inter Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

• Totti goal defeats Juventus

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 Serie A 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 Juventus, 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 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 to a 2-1 victory over Atalanta as they won for the first time in four Serie A games.

Torino went ahead three minutes before half-time when the Turin club broke quickly, Barreto found Cerci who slotted into the bottom right-hand corner but Atalanta equalised when goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet fouled Marko Livaja and German Denis stepped up to equalise.

A draw appeared to be on the cards when Torino deservedly regained the lead three minutes from time when Matteo Darmian's right-wing cross found Birsa and he slotted home a right-footed shot from close range.

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