Alberto Gilardino scored twice as Fiorentina defeated AS Roma 4-1 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and moved into Serie A’s final UEFA Champions League berth.
Fiorentina lost 3-1 to Udinese last week and knew they had to register a victory to keep up the pressure on Genoa, who can retake fourth place by beating Bologna on Sunday. Juan Manuel Vargas gave Fiorentina the perfect start just six minutes in with a powerful left-foot shot from outside the penalty area, though it was not until the second half that they extended their lead through Gilardino. He headed in Franco Semioli’s cross from the right two minutes after the restart and claimed his 18th league goal the campaign midway through the half when he collected Riccardo Montolivo’s pass, evaded Marco Cassetti and cutely placed the ball past Artur with the outside of his foot.
By that stage, Roma were down to ten men following David Pizarro’s dismissal (58) for a second booking, and they fell further behind when Massimo Gobbi (72) converted the rebound after Gilardino’s header had been saved. Roma, whose consolation came from Júlio Baptista (86), trail their opponents in the chase for fourth place by six points. In the night’s other game, Gaetano D’Agostino scored twice – including an added-time winner – as Udinese won 2-1 at lowly Verona.