Giacomo Bonaventura celebrated his first Italy call-up in three years by helping Fiorentina to a stunning 3-1 win at Napoli on Sunday as they moved into Serie A’s Champions League places.
Veteran midfielder Bonaventura showed why Luciano Spalletti brought him back into the Azzurri fold when he expertly slotted home the key goal in the 63rd minute of a fascinating, often frantic clash in Naples.
The 34-year-old’s fourth goal in eight league matches allowed Fiorentina to leapfrog into fourth above champions Napoli whose title defence has got off to a stuttering start under Rudi Garcia, who replaced Scudetto-winner Spalletti.
Vincenzo Italiano’s Fiorentina are just four points behind leaders AC Milan and level with fierce rivals Juventus, and were good value for their win.
They opened the scoring when Josip Brekalo fired through Alex Meret’s legs from a tight angle in the seventh minute.
The away side looked to be going in ahead at half-time but a dreadful back-pass from Fabiano Parisi allowed a lurking Victor Osimhen to pounce on the ball and be taken out by Fiorentina goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano.
Osimhen stepped up and rammed home the penalty and just before the hour mark — after Jonathan Ikone hit the post for Fiorentina — the Nigeria forward had to be stopped by Terracciano after Michael Kayode unwittingly played him clean through on goal.
But Bonaventura was in the right place at the right time when Alfred Duncan’s heavy first touch on the edge of the area bounced off Mathias Olivera, and with Napoli pushing forward substitute Nicolas Gonzalez sealed a big win on the break deep in stoppage time.
Romelu Lukaku continued his fast start to life in a Roma shirt with a brace in a 4-1 win at Serie A’s bottom side Cagliari which took his all-competitions goal tally to seven.
Belgium forward Lukaku chested Roma two ahead in the 20th minute, seconds after Houssem Aouar had swept the away side into the lead against a Cagliari team yet to register a win since being promoted.
And his fifth league strike of the season completed the scoring for Roma, who sit 10th on 11 points, just before the hour mark in a simple win in Sardinia, seven minutes after Andrea Belotti had added a third.
Lukaku signed for Roma on loan from Chelsea at the end of the summer transfer window and he has made an instant impact, even if Roma’s inconsistent results had led to speculation that Jose Mourinho could be sacked.
“I’m a professional. I worked during the summer,” said Lukaku to DAZN.
“People talk about me but I don’t talk, I show on the pitch what I can do.”
Sunday’s victory was their third in a row and first away from home in Italy’s top flight in six months, but it wasn’t all positive as Paulo Dybala left the field with a knee injury five minutes before half-time following a heavy challenge from Matteo Prati.
“Paulo is not optimistic and that means I am not optimistic,” said Mourinho.
“We have to wait a couple of days for the test results but I trust the player, he knows his body well.”
Vecino boosts Lazio
Lazio are a point behind their local rivals Roma in 13th after Matias Vecino struck late to secure a 3-2 win for Lazio over Atalanta.
Uruguay midfielder Vecino lashed in a superb volley from Valentin Castellanos’ knockdown in the 83rd minute in Rome, his second goal in as many games after also scoring in Wednesday’s Champions League win at Celtic.
“Vecino is scoring big goals and solving problems,” said Sarri.
“He played really well midweek and even though I thought it was best to only give him some of the game today he made a big impact.”
Atalanta sit sixth on 13 points, a single point ahead of surprise packages Monza and Frosinone, who respectively beat Salernitana 3-0 and Verona 2-1.
World Cup News
/ 2 weeks ago
A set of six jerseys that Lionel Messi wore during Argentina’s victorious 2022 World...
Saudi Arabia is prepared to host the 2034 World Cup in summer or winter,...
Saudi Arabia is in line to host the 2034 World Cup after FIFA announced...
Rights groups called for “binding commitments” from World Cup host nations after Australia opted...