Serie A - Juve pummel ten-man Fiorentina
Juventus kept the pressure on Serie A leaders AC Milan with a humiliating 5-0 win over 10-man Fiorentina at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Five goals from five different goalscorers put the outnumbered hosts to the sword, with second-placed Juve a goal to the good through Mirko Vucinic's splendid strike when Alessio Cerci foolishly earned himself a straight red after just twenty minutes for lashing out at Paolo De Ceglie with a kick.
Arturo Vidal doubled the advantage before half-time, after which an all-out attacking approach from the viola in an effort to stage an unlikely comeback was punished by further goals from Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and substitute Simone Padoin.
The win takes Juventus back to within four points of table-topping Milan, who were victorious at Parma by a score of two goals to nil earlier in the day.
The home side had their work cut out from the start, and Vucinic curled a low shot onto the upright after just six minutes of play, before Alessandro Matri somehow fired the rebound over with the goal gaping.
Though Juventus enjoyed 70 per cent of the early possession, Fiorentina enjoyed their brightest period of the first half just before going behind to an absolute peach of a strike.
The viola defence struggled to contain a quick series of tight passes by the Juve players, and were left dumbstruck when Vucinic capped the move with a majestic drive inside the far post to break the deadlock.
Things got even worse for the team in purple five minutes later, with Cerci foolishly kicking out during a tussle with De Ceglie in front of the assistant referee, who immediately reported the incident to the match official.
The red card was shown, and Fiorentina faced 70 minutes against the second-best side in the division a man short.
It took seven minutes for the numerical advantage to count, with Vucinic holding up an Andrea Pirlo corner long enough to play the ball back into the path of Vidal whose initial shot was parried well by Artur Boruc, only to leave the rebound on a plate for the Chilean to double his side’s lead.
To their credit, the 10 men of Fiorentina came out for the second half ready to go for broke in search of a comeback, and Cesare Natali really should have at least found the target with his header on the end of a free-kick shortly after the break.
But their all-out mentality led to bigger holes at the back, which were exploited by Simone Pepe and Vucinic with a pair of wide runs and crosses, the latter of which was well headed by Marchisio for 3-0.
Vucinic notched up his third assist of the game with a delightful through-pass down the centre which Pirlo lifted over the committed Boruc for arguably the pick of the five goals.
Five minutes later and the scoreline worsened for the rapidly-diminishing home support, as a Juve double substitution led to Padoin tucking away a deflected diagonal ball into the danger zone with his very first touch for his first Juventus goal.