SERIE A SOCCER
FIRENZE, Italia -- This season hasn't been altogether kind to injury-ravaged Fiorentina, which at one point in October was dead last in Serie A.
After a 1-0 victory over Cesena Saturday night at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, the Viola have climbed back to the top half of the table.
Alberto Gilardino scored in the
59th minute for the hosts, who lost striker Adrian Mutu in the 41st minute and remain without captain Riccardo Montolivo, starting goalkeeper Sebastien Frey, Cristiano Zanetti and Stefan Jovetic.
Gilardino's goal, his fifth of the season and second in as many matches, was nothing short of beautiful. He took Alessio Cerci's cross in the box, spun and fired top drawer into the left side past Cesena goalie Francesco Antonioli.
Despite it being the slimmest of possible leads, the one-goal margin seemed to be more than enough for Fiorentina keeper Artur Boruc for the remainder of the second half. Cesena mounted only a couple of legitimate scoring chances, with Ivan Fatic's long shot going well high in the 76th minute and Emanuele Giaccherini's 85th-minute shot deflected wide left.
Fiorentina missed out on a couple of chances to extend its lead when Gaetano D'Agostino took substitute Adam Ljajic's pass in front of the goal but shot very high, and Gianluca Comotto's header off a corner was just a touch too high.
Cesena has now lost four of its last five and sits 19th in the standings.
NOTES: Neither Fiorentina nor Cesena has won on the road this season. ... The Viola return to action Saturday night at league leaders AC Milan. Cesena hosts Palermo next Sunday afternoon.
Photo above: Alberto Gilardino celebrates after scoring Saturday. (La Repubblica)