Fiorentina brushed Cagliari aside 3-0 with Nicolas Gonzalez finishing a team move and Dusan Vlahovic’s wonderful free kick after he seemingly refused to take a penalty.
The Viola had Riccardo Sottil suspended, with Bartlomiej Dragowski and Erick Pulgar injured, but Gaetano Castrovilli returned a month after badly bruising his ribs in a collision with the upright. They were coming off two consecutive defeats, but the Sardinians had celebrated their first victory under Walter Mazzarri, beating Sampdoria 3-1. Kevin Strootman, Diego Godin, Dalbert and Oliva were added to the injury list with Marko Rog, Sebastian Walukiewicz, Damir Ceter and Paolo Faragò.
Riccardo Saponara almost stunned Alessio Cragno in the opening minute with a lob from midfield, forcing a save and a corner.
Nicolas Gonzalez’s angled drive shaved a coat of paint off the base of the far post, then Keita Balde Diao was penalised for a rather harsh handling offence using VAR, converted by Cristiano Biraghi. There was controversy, as Dusan Vlahovic was meant to take the spot-kick, but reportedly refused after fans jeered him for turning down a new contract.
Saponara came so close to a second for Fiorentina, his curler dipping to bounce off the crossbar.
Saponara did deserve most of the credit for the second goal, though, as he sprung the offside trap on a Vlahovic pass, ran clear on goal and selflessly rolled it across for the Gonzalez tap-in.
Youssef Maleh’s screamer flashed inches wide and Vlahovic did get his goal from a dead-ball situation, curling a ferocious free kick into the top corner from 20 metres out.
That goal seemed to shake Vlahovic out of his tension from earlier, as he skimmed the woodwork with another two great attempts moments later.
Fiorentina 3-0 Cagliari
Biraghi pen 21 (F), Gonzalez 42 (F), Vlahovic 49 (F)