Frail Fiorentina beaten by Palermo
Fiorentina's frailties returned to haunt them as they slumped to a disappointing defeat at home to Palermo.
La Viola's win over Parma last week was their first in Serie A this season and eased the pressure on coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, but they failed to build on that today as first-half strikes from Josip Ilicic and Javier Pastore sealed the points for Palermo. Alberto Gilardino pulled one back for the hosts after the break and Mihajlovic's men might have snatched at a point had Adem Ljajic not seen his 64th-minute penalty saved by Palermo goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu.
The hosts' misery was compounded when Riccardo Montolivo picked up a straight red card 16 minutes from time.
Ilicic went close to opening the scoring on seven minutes when he drilled against the bar after being played in by Antonio Nocerino. On 16 minutes La Viola forward Marco Marchionni saw his effort from outside the area saved by Sirigu while Manuel Pasqual blazed over with the follow-up.
The first goal arrived on 20 minutes and was created out of nothing by Ilicic, who worked space on the edge of the area and unleashed a fierce drive beyond Sebastien Frey. Sirigu tipped over the bar from Marchionni on 36 minutes as the hosts probed for a way back into the match, but eight minutes from the interval Fiorentina fell further behind.
Pastore started and finished the move, exchanging passes with Nocerino before taking the ball around Frey and slotting home.
Fiorentina looked a different proposition after the break and pulled a goal back on 58 minutes as Gilardino nodded home Mario Santana's cross. Frey worked wonders to keep the visitors from adding to their tally with stops from Pastore and Ilicic just after the hour, and the goalkeeper's heroics looked set to be rewarded on 64 minutes when Federico Balzaretti handled in the area and Fiorentina were awarded a penalty. Ljajic took responsibility for the kick but saw his effort saved by Sirigu.
Sirigu also denied Gilardino and Ljajic before Fiorentina's morale took a further dive with the dismissal of Montolivo for a professional foul on 74 minutes.
Gilardino spurned Fiorentina's last opening six minutes from time and Palermo themselves were guilty of a string of missed chances as the game got stretched but nevertheless held on for a deserved victory.