Let there be no mistake: Giuseppe Rossi is back. The Italian international netted thrice on Sunday afternoon as Fiorentina completed an astonishing second half comeback against Scudetto holders Juventus, coming from 2-0 down to win 4-2 in an early contender for game of the season.
The first half was a chaotic, high-tempo affair, with both sides struggling for composure and patience in the raucous atmosphere of the Artemio Franchi. It took almost 20 minutes for someone to muster a shot on target, though Carlos Tévez's low effort from the edge of the area was easily smothered by Neto.
Juventus looked increasingly the more dangerous of the two sides, and Tévez went close again a few minutes later, nodding Paul Pogba's cross narrowly wide from inside the area. Neto was called into action by Claudio Marchisio on the half-hour, diving to his near post to push the midfielder's drilled effort behind for a corner.
Finally the bianconeri capitalised on their territorial advantage, opening the scoring through a penalty inside the final ten minutes of the half. Gonzalo Rodríguez clumsily brought down Tévez in the box, with the fouled Argentine jumping up to roll the ball straight down the middle and into Neto's goal.
Things went from bad to worse for Fiorentina within five minutes, when Juan Cuadrado's weak clearance looped up into his own area, and charged onto by a marauding Pogba. The French midfielder just had to slide the ball into an empty net, leaving the viola 2-0 down and shellshocked on the half time whistle.
Marchisio should've added a third soon after the restart, though a brave stop from Neto just about kept the game alive. Juve were in total control, and Asamoah too squandered a good chance after squirming into the box, shooting straight at the Brazilian keeper.
Then, everything changed. With 25 minutes remaining Fiorentina were handed a route back into the match when Mati Fernández drew a foul in the area from Asamoah, and the game's second penalty was awarded. Giuseppe Rossi stepped up to score his sixth goal of the season, and suddenly the viola were alive once more.
Inside the final 15 minutes, the reinvigorated hosts were level. Rossi was the saviour, lashing the ball violently towards the far post from outside the area, out of reach of the flailing Gianluigi Buffon.
The damage had been done; the leak in the Juventus defence had turned into a purple torrent, and within a couple of minutes, Fiorentina had the lead. A quick counter-attack saw them burst through the Juve defence, with Joaquín applying the finish to Borja Valero's assist.
The Artemio Franchi was rocking; a fervent inevitability now marked Fiorentina's incessant forays forward, with Juventus overwhelmed. Another lightning counter saw Cuadrado charge down the left before playing a through-ball for Rossi in the middle. The Italian international's finish was impeccable; finding the bottom corner with unstoppable precision.
On the touchline, Juve coach Antonio Conte grimaced, having witnessed his team being totally torn to shreds in a manner unseen in Serie A for a long time.
Fiorentina starting lineup (3-5-1-1): Neto; Stefan Savić, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Facundo Roncaglia; Manuel Pasqual, Borja Valero, David Pizarro, Massimo Ambrosini (Mati Fernández 23'), Juan Cuadrado; Alberto Aquilani (Joaquín 57') Giuseppe Rossi (Ryer Matos 85').
Goals: Rossi pen 66', 76', 81', Joaquín 78'.
Juventus starting lineup (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli; Kwadwo Asamoah (Sebastian Giovinco 79'), Claudio Marchisio (Arturo Vidal 77'), Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba, Simone Padoin (Marco Motta 83'); Carlos Tévez, Fernando Llorente.
Goals: Tévez 37', Pogba 40'.