STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (Parma) – It was a tale of three penalties on Sunday evening as Fiorentina scored two to Parma’s one to return to Tuscany with three important points.
La Viola arrived in Emilia-Romagna with one eye on the survival fight behind them, but two Erick Pulgar penalties in the first half were enough for the win, even despite Juraj Kucka converting Parma’s own in the second.
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Fiorentina had started the brighter of the two sides, but other than a Lorenzo Venuti effort that bounced back off the crossbar, there wasn’t much in it until they were awarded the first of their penalties.
Venuti was again involved as he arrived into the area only to be fouled by Riccardo Gagliolo, giving referee Rosario Abisso little choice but to point to the spot.
Erick Pulgar stepped up and, as he tends to, confidently sent Luigi Sepe the wrong way to give La Viola the lead.
Gagliolo was guilty again a little over five minutes later, but this time at the other end of the pitch. Yann Karamoh’s tidy footwork and Dejan Kulusevski’s deep cross found his fellow Sweden international, but the fullback got under the ball and headed over.
Then came the second penalty – the seventh Parma have conceded in six games and the sixth since the restart – after Abisso consulted his pitch-side monitor and decided that Matteo Darmian had handled the ball illegally.
Pulgar stepped up again and, going the same way as before, maintained his 100 percent record from the spot this season with his sixth goal from six penalties taken.
Parma finally got a penalty of their own early in the second half as a flailing arm from German Pezzalla caught Kuraj Kucka in the face as they challenged for a header.
VAR was reviewed, the penalty was given and Kucka stepped up himself to hammer it into the top corner.
The Crociati began to up the pressure and Bruno Alves came within inches of finding that same top corner with a long-range freekick, but his strike flew just outside the post and into the side netting.
Kulusevski’s energy continued to give Fiorentina’s backline something to think about and he slipped Gervinho through after some tireless recovery work to win the ball back himself, but the Ivorian hit his shot at Pietro Terracciano.
Patrick Cutrone and Gaetano Castrovilli had their own chances at the other end but couldn’t beat Sepe.
Kucka went down in the 89th minute wanting another penalty, but the hosts’ protests were waved away and Jasmin Kurtic was booked for his complaints.