Berardi’s penalty brace for Sassuolo puts pressure on Fiorentina

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Italy winger Domenico Berardi came off the bench and converted two penalties in three minutes to inspire Saturday’s 3-1 comeback win for Sassuolo to leave Fiorentina five points above the relegation zone.

Franck Ribery returned from suspension for the Tuscany team and set up Giacomo Bonaventura to blast in the opener after half an hour in Emilia-Romagna.

Roberto De Zerbi’s home side proved wasteful despite dominating possession in the first half before a triple substitution after the break paid off.

Berardi came on to spark an immediate revival earning a penalty after being brought down by Fiorentina goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski as he was clear on goal.

Berardi slotted in his 100th Sassuolo goal and then minutes later celebrated his 101st, again from the penalty spot, for a German Pezzella foul on Giacomo Raspadori.

Maxime Lopez added a third with quarter of an hour to go with Berardi missing the chance for a hat-trick sending a header wide.

Sassuolo move up to eighth, five points ahead of ninth-placed Hellas Verona, who lost 3-1 at Sampdoria.

Fiorentina are not yet clear of safety, sitting 16th, five points off the drop zone, having taken just one point from their last four games.

Midtable Sampdoria also came from behind to inflict a fifth defeat in six games on Hellas Verona.

But Udinese ended their three-match losing run 2-1 at basement club Crotone with Rodrigo De Paul hitting a brace with goals in either half before being sent off in the 90th minute for a high kick on Salvatore Molina.

Crotone moved closer to a return to Serie B after this fifth consecutive defeat.

Nigerian Simy pulled a goal back for Crotone from the penalty spot for his 10th goal in seven straight games, bringing his tally to 17 of his side’s 34 goals this campaign.

In a seven-goal thriller in Sardinia, 18th-placed Cagliari came from two-goals down to snatch a 4-3 win over relegation-rivals Parma.

Giuseppe Pezzella had put Parma ahead after five minutes with Juraj Kucka adding a second just after the half hour.

A Leonardo Pavoletti header six minutes before the break got Cagliari back into the game with Gaston Pereiro and Alberto Cerri both scoring in injury time to end Cagliari’s four-match losing streak.

The Sardinians pull five points ahead of second-last Parma who are also edging closer to demotion and meet champions Juventus next Wednesday.

AFP/Yahoo Sports

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