Lazio vs. Fiorentina: Final score 0-2; Viola fire themselves back into the European mix

Paolo Bruno

Fiorentina comfortably beat Lazio 2-0 at the Olimpico, lifting themselves into fourth place and right back into the mix for Champions League qualification.

Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic made two changes from the side that lost to Milan last week, Ederson coming in for the suspended Antonio Candreva whilst Lorik Cana replaced Giuseppe Biava in defence. Vincenzo Montella only made one change from his side that lost to Bologna, David Pizarro coming in for the suspended Alberto Aquilani.

Fiorentina took the early initiative, pressuring Lazio from the off and creating the first chance of the match, Stevan Jovetic ballooning Manuel Pasqual's left wing cross miles off target from six yards when it looked easier to score for the Montenegrin.

Fiorentina continued to be on top and Federico Marchetti had to be alert to stop Juan Cuadrado's powerful 20 yard effort after some good work from Adem Ljajic.

After 20 minutes, their pressure paid off and Fiorentina took the lead. Ljajic again put in some good work down the left and he cut inside to pass for Borja Valero. The Spanish midfielder intelligently dummied to allow the ball to run through to Jovetic who's curling shot found the bottom corner, despite Marchetti's best efforts.

Minutes later and it could've been 2-0, a corner from the right finding Jovetic unmarked at the back post, his shot deflected over by a recovering Senad Lulic. The following corner resulted not in a chance for Fiorentina, but in some bickering and pushing between Andre Dias and Stefan Radu that had to be calmed by captain Cristian Ledesma.

Although Fiorentina remained on top, Lazio began to create a few chances of their own, Ederson's shot well saved by Emiliano Viviano and Andre Dias contriving to scuff a dreadful finish in the midst of a penalty box scramble following a corner.

Senad Lulic was having more and more joy down the left hand side and just before the break, his low cross found Sergio Floccari, who took a good touch to get away from Gonzalo Rodriguez however his shot was blocked by the Argentine defender.

Five minutes after the break and the advantage was doubled as Adem Ljajic hit a free kick from 25 yards that dipped and bounced, and although Marchetti was able to get a hand to it, it wasn't enough to prevent it from going in to give the Viola a 2-0 lead.

At the other end, Hernanes fired in a free kick of his own from fully 30 yards, a shot which looked destined for the top corner before Viviano acrobatically palmed it away. Lazio should've pulled a goal back soon after, Stefan Savic's poor cleaing header dropped perfectly for Floccari in the box, but his well-struck volley was saved by Viviano, and the rebound scrambled away.

With a two goal lead, Fiorentina were content to sit back and let Lazio come on to them but the Biancocelesti were struggling to offer anything going forward. The lack of any final ball meant that Floccari was feeding off scraps and as a consequence, the team were unable to even come close to getting back into the match.

Adem Ljajic had another free kick in an almost identical location to the one he scored, however the result was different this time, the ball ballooning harmlessly over Marchetti's goal.

Fiorentina were content to sit on their lead and were barely troubled by Lazio's efforts, the only other chance coming within the final five minutes when Floccari got a shot away after a scramble in the penalty box following a corner, but Viviano saved and Fiorentina move above both their opponents and Inter to fourth, just three points behind Milan in third.

Lazio: Marchetti; Pereirinha, Dias, Cana, Radu; Ledesma (Mauri 69), Ederson (Kozak 46), Gonzalez, Hernanes (Onazi 57), Lulic; Floccari

Fiorentina: Viviano; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Savic, Pasqual; Pizarro, Miglaccio, Valero (Sissoko 88); Cuadrado (Romulo 86), Jovetic, Ljajic (Llama 67)

Goals: Jovetic 20 (F), Ljajic 50 (F)

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