Fiorentina bounce back from Euro heartache

ROME, March 13, 2010 (AFP) - Fiorentina came back from a goal down to defeat Napoli 3-1 on Saturday, bouncing back in style from their shattering midweek Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich.

Ezequiel Lavezzi gave Napoli the lead early in the second half, but Alberto Gilardino levelled on the hour mark.

Gilardino added a second three minutes from time before Stevan Jovetic scored Fiorentina's third in stoppage time.

Fiorentina's middfielder Juan Vargas controls the ball against Bayern Munich during their last 16 Champion's League second leg football match in Florence's Artemio Franchi Stadium on March 9, 2010. AFP PHOTO

It was Fiorentina's first win in Naples in 15 years and adding to their delight was the performance of 16-year-old Kouma Babacar who had a hand in both goals.

The result moved the Florence side into ninth place in Serie A while Napoli stay seventh, five points off the Champions League places.

"This victory has great significance and is one of the most important of the season," said Gilardino.

"We were determined and hadn’t picked up many points recently, but today got three in an extremely difficult ground."

Leaders Inter Milan suffered just their third loss of the season as they fell 3-1 at Catania on Friday, in a defeat that threw the Italian title chase wide open.

The Sicilians claimed their first win in 44 years over their Serie A rivals - who were reduced to ten men - thanks to second half goals from Maxi Lopez, a Giuseppe Mascara penalty, and a last-gasp Jorge Martinez winner.

Argentine striker Diego Milito had looked as if he had put Inter on their way to victory when he scored the opening goal after 54 minutes under the driving rain in the Stadio Angelo Massimino.

But coach Jose Mourinho could only watch aghast from the stands as he served out the last game of a three-match touchline ban, as his side were demolished in the last 15 minutes of play.

Maxi Lopez got the equaliser for Catania with a close range shot after 73.

And they moved ahead with a penalty after Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari got his second yellow card nine minutes from time for a blatant hand ball less than two minutes after coming on in place of Argentine Esteban Cambiasso.

The stadium erupted in joy as Martinez picked up a high clearance to put the result beyond any doubt.

It was Inter's heaviest defeat this season as Mourinho's side left Sicily with a four-point advantage on AC Milan, who could move to within just a point of the leaders when they host midtable Chievo on Sunday.

The game at Catania has been brought forward to Friday to allow Mourinho's side to prepare for their Champions League trip to Chelsea on Tuesday where they are defending a 2-1 lead.

Inter director Marco Branca said: "Only the result went wrong, but it’ll be a different game with Chelsea."

Source: AFP

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