Fiorentina vs. Torino, Preview: Viola look to close the gap to Champions League promised land

Dino Panato

A victory over Torino on Sunday afternoon will put Fiorentina just a point off Milan in third place, with the Rossoneri taking on champions-elect Juventus later on.

Following last week's victory over Atalanta, Fiorentina sit four points off the final Champions League place in Serie A, agonisingly close yet just out of touch of Milan above them. This weekend however, is the perfect opportunity for the Viola to reduce the deficit with Milan facing a a trip to the Juventus stadium in the Sunday evening match. A reason for Fiorentina to be confident going into the Torino clash is that they easily despatched with similarly-placed Atalanta last week, including a magnificent goal from Marcelo Larrondo, and they have been in good form recently, the only blip being a reverse to in-form Cagliari at the end of March. They did have the chance to close the gap to Milan on more personal terms two weeks ago, however a 2-2 draw was a fair result but with Milan facing a tough challenge at the home of the champions-elect this week, Fiorentina need a victory here to pile on the pressure in the race for third.

Torino sit in 15th place although they are mostly free of relegation worries, eight points above Palermo and Genoa in the drop zone. Towards the bottom of a tightly bunched mid-table group, Torino will be aiming for Parma's 11th place as Cagliari in 10th are just out of reach barring a downturn in form for them. The Granata haven't been in great form of late, without a win in their last three and have been a frustrating side this season. At times, they have been magnificent going forward with a reborn Alessio Cerci a genuine joy to watch on the right flank however at others they have been dour and seriously lacking in creativity and ideas.

Fiorentina are relatively free of injury worries besides their long-term absentees, with Stefan Savic, Stevan Jovetic and Matias Fernandez all in line for a return, Manuel Pasqual misses out through suspension. Torino are similarly injury-free, with only Matteo Brighi definitely out and a question mark over Valter Birsa's participation.

Fiorentina injuries and suspensions

Out: Rafal Wolski, Ahmed Hegazy, Giuseppe Rossi, Michele Camporese (injured); Manuel Pasqual (suspended). In doubt: Luca Toni, Stevan Jovetic, Stefan Savic, Matias Fernandez.

Torino injuries and suspensions

Out: Matteo Brighi (injured). In doubt: Valter Birsa

Match date/time: Sunday 21st April 2013, 15:00 local, 09:00 E.T.

Venue: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence

TV: Sky Calcio 3 (Italy)

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