Cristiano Ronaldo stretched his scoring streak to nine consecutive league games with a penalty double on Sunday as Juventus bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to Napoli with a 3-0 win over Fiorentina.
The Portuguese striker slotted in both his goals from the spot in either half in Turin with Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt heading in a third in injury time.
Maurizio Sarri’s side open up a six-point lead on top of the Serie A table on second-placed Inter Milan, who travel to lowly Udinese later on Sunday.
Juventus had fallen to just their second defeat of the season last weekend at Sarri’s former club Napoli, despite Ronaldo scoring.
Fiorentina announced on Saturday that they had fired coach Vincenzo Montella with the club struggling in 14th in Serie A.
“Vincenzo Montella has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the first team,” the club announced on its web site. “The decision was taken following a long and detailed analysis of the team’s performances and results.”
“Given the need to rediscover the necessary grit and determination on the pitch and produce an immediate turnaround, the owners and management decided that a change of coach was the best option,” the club continued.
Fiorentina promised a new coach would be announced “in the next few days”.
Montella, a 45-year-old former Italy winger, managed Fiorentina from 2012-15 leading the club to two fourth-place finishes in Serie A before he was fired. After spells in charge at Sampdoria, AC Milan and Sevilla, he returned to Florence in April.
Fiorentina lost 4-1 at home to Roma on Friday and have taken just two points from their last seven games.
Buoyed at the start of the season by the arrival of Franck Ribery, the team has been struggling since the Frenchman suffered a serious ankle injury that will keep him out until February.
Fiorentina have started their winter break and do not play again in Serie A until January 6.
Fiorentina are struggling without Franck Ribery who has been given a three-match ban for pushing an official.
But Cagliari, who battled relegation last season, have been in superb form since Nainggolan returned after five years away, including a difficult season at Inter Milan last term.
The Belgian contributed three assists and capped a stellar performance with the fifth goal of the game after 65 minutes.
Serb Dusan Vlahovic pulled two late goals back for Fiorentina in the final quarter of an hour but the Tuscans are eighth.
The game was halted at the 13th minute, as both teams paid tribute to former Fiorentina captain Davide Astori who also played for Cagliari.
Four minutes later Nainggolan set up Mark Rog for the opener, with Fabio Pisacane nodding in the second less than ten minutes later.
The 31-year-old Nainggolan was involved again in Giovanni Simeone’s third goal against the Spanish forward’s parent club, as well as Joao Pedro’s effort ten minutes after the break, before blasting in his second goal of the campaign from a distance.
He was given a standing ovation when substituted after 78 minutes.
“There is little to comment, it was an ordeal,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella.
“They were clearly superior to us. We need to draw lessons from this.”
Cagliari extended their winning run to a third consecutive game and are unbeaten in ten games, which includes seven victories and three draws.
Roma travel to Parma later on Sunday where a win would put them back ahead of Cagliari.
Atalanta and Lazio will bid to move level on points with the Sardinians against Sampdoria and Lecce respectively.
Fiorentina have signed Croatia midfielder Milan Badelj on a season-long loan from Lazio, the Stadio Artemio Franchi side announced on Monday.
Badelj returns to the Tuscan outfit just a year after leaving for the Italian capital on a free transfer, with the club’s sporting director Daniele Prade revealing in an impromptu press conference they have an option to buy him at the end of the loan period.
“I had the choice to stay at Lazio or return here. I chose the latter, even though I didn’t think there was any chance of it happening given that I left on a free,” the 30-year-old said at the conference.
Badelj, who spent four years at Fiorentina before his move to Lazio, has played more than 40 times for his country, scoring once as they reached the final of last year’s World Cup.
He won the Coppa Italia with Lazio last season, although he played no part in the final as Simone Inzaghi’s side ran out 2-0 winners over Atalanta.
Italian-American media magnate Rocco Commisso bought Fiorentina in June, ending the 17-year ownership of the Della Valle family led by billionaire Diego Della Valle, the head of luxury group Tod’s.
Hopes are high that 69-year-old Commisso, chairman of cable television provider Mediacom group and owner of the New York Cosmos, can breathe new life into Fiorentina after they escaped relegation to Serie B on the final day of last season.
Italian-American media magnate Rocco Commisso on Thursday completed the purchase of Serie A team Fiorentina, the Italian club announced.
Reported to be worth in the region of 170 million euros ($190 million), the deal brings an end to the 17-year ownership of the Della Valle family.
The 69-year-old Commisso is chairman of cable television provider Mediacom group, and owns New York Cosmos soccer club.
He had in recent years tried to buy AC Milan.
“I have always been a fan of Italian football and there are no words to describe how incredibly honoured I am to have the opportunity to contribute to writing the next chapter in the history of a legendary club like Fiorentina,” said Commisso.
Born in Calabria in southern Italy he moved to the United States in 1962, with his mother and two sisters to join his father and brother, who had moved there six years earlier.
“Florence is known throughout the world as a city that represents the best of Italian culture,” said Commisso.
“In these three years of contacts to acquire the club, I have developed a profound awareness of how important La Viola is for this city and its fans.”
The Della Valle family, which includes entrepreneur Diego Della Valle, who controls luxury group Tod’s, purchased the Tuscany club in 2002 after the former two-time Serie A winners went bankrupt and were relegated.
“Diego and Andrea deserve great honours for having saved this company from financial collapse,” said Commisso.”They leave solid foundations on which to build the club”.
Fiorentina finished 16th last season, just three points above the drop zone. Their last trophy was a sixth Coppa Italia in 2001.
They won two Serie A titles in 1956 and 1969.
Della Valle brothers Diego and Andrea said they chose the offer which they believed to be best for the club.
“Among the various offers we received, we prioritised the one that wasn’t most financially advantageous for us but the one we believe gives the greatest guarantees of a solid and passionate future to the Viola, given the knowledge and competence that Rocco Commisso already has in the world of football,” they said in a statement.
Napoli could finish the weekend trailing Serie A leaders Juventus by 11 points after Carlo Ancelotti’s wasteful side stuttered to a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina on Saturday, as Lautaro Martinez scored the only goal to get Inter Milan back winning against promoted Parma.
Both sides start their Europa League campaigns this week after crashing out of the Champions League with Napoli travelling to FC Zurich and Inter Milan away to Rapid Vienna in their round of the 32, first leg ties.
Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont produced a string of saves to deny Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens as Napoli failed to score away from home for the third game running.
“We dropped two points that we would’ve deserved for attacking from start to finish,” said Ancelotti.
“In some ways, it was an impeccable performance, but we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal and were forced to make do with a point.”
Ancelotti’s side have now been held twice in the past three games while hosts Fiorentina drew for the 11th time in 23 matches this season to sit ninth, but just six points off the Champions League berths.
The Tuscany side’s best chance came just after half-time when French midfielder Jordan Veretout was denied by an excellent stop from Alex Meret.
Inter Milan, in third, got back winning after Martinez came off the bench late, scoring after 79 minutes at Parma, after an earlier Danilo D’Ambrosio headed goal was ruled out after a VAR video review for a handling offence.
Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan crossed nicely for the Argentine blast in Luciano Spalletti’s side their first league goal and win of 2019.
Inter are now nine points behind Napoli, with Roma in fourth, a further five points behind, and Lazio fifth after their wins over Chievo and Empoli earlier this week.
“I’m well suited to overcoming difficulties,” said under-pressure Inter Milan coach Spalletti.
“Just as the defeat against Bologna (last week) caused despair, this victory will give us enthusiasm and strength.
“We must now keep a low profile to rediscover stability. We showed positive things tonight, but we need to produce further performances like this to gain consistency.”
Parma are in 12th position with just one goal from their last five games, despite their heroics last week with a late Gervinho double holding champions Juventus 3-3.
Unbeaten Juventus could stretch their advantage to double digits on Sunday when they travel to mid-table Sassuolo, firming on track for an eighth consecutive league title.
The former Italy and Fiorentina defender Davide Astori, who died at his team hotel in March, was most likely killed by an abnormal heart acceleration, Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported Friday.
The 31-year-old, with no history of the heart problems, was alone in his hotel room in Udinese on the eve of a match.
Corriere reported that the autopsy asserted that Astori would not have been asleep at the time of his death and might have been saved had he had a roommate.
His death had at first been presumed to have been caused by a slowing of the heart, but Corriere Della Sera cited the autopsy as saying he died after a violent acceleration of the heartbeat.
Astori’s funeral was attended by vast crowds of fans and dozens of top professional players who came to pay respect to a widely popular man who captained his club and played 14 times for Italy.