Serie A: Roma held, 10-man Fiorentina prevails, SPAL wins late
It was a wild day in Serie A play, complete with comebacks, late winners, VAR controversy, man-down goals, and everything you want from a Sunday slate of league play.
In the biggest result of the day, Juventus came back from down a goal at Lazio, fighting back after a bad Ciro Immobile miss to win 2-1, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the winner in the 88th minute.
[ MORE: Juventus tops Lazio 2-1 on late comeback ]
Thanks to that result, which left Lazio in eight amid a crowded and vicious battle for the final Champions League place in Serie A, Fiorentina was able to move into ninth - level with Lazio on points - thanks to a wacko 4-3 win over Chievo Verona after scoring two goals while a man down.
It was a dream start for Fiorentina as Luis Muriel opened scored just four minutes in, and the game had its most controversial moment soon after. Chievo appeared to equalize as Emmanuele Giaccherini scored after forcing a horrible mistake from Fiorentina goalkeeper Alban Lafont, who passed it right to the former Sunderland attacker. However, VAR ruled the goal out after it was determined a pressing Chievo forward barely strayed into the penalty area before the goal-kick exited the 18-yard box.
Marco Benassi doubled Fiorentina’s lead just before the half-hour mark, roofing a lovely curling effort. Mariusz Stepinski brought Chievo back within one before the break with a towering header, and after the break, it went even more wrong for the visitors. Benassi essentially saved a goal with his outstretched arm right on the line, and he was sent off for the incident. Sergio Pellissier slotted home the ensuing penalty and the sides were level.
With Fiorentina a man down in a 2-2 game, they went back in front on a wonderful counter finished off by Federico Chiesa from a very tight angle. Chiesa grabbed the fourth as well four minutes from full-time, somehow finding space in a two-on-five situation as Gerson threaded the needle for the assist. Filip Djordjevic scored for Chievo in the 89th minute to make stoppage time interesting, but Fiorentina grabbed the vital three points.
Elsewhere, Edin Dzeko scored a brace and Stephen El Shaarawy added a third, but Roma was held on a stunning three-goal comeback by Atalanta, capped off by a 72nd minute equalizer from on-fire Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata. Zapata’s goal came just two minutes after he had missed a penalty, blasting miles over the bar, but he atoned for the 3-3 draw with a slow-roller at the near post, one Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen will certainly want back. A win would have seen Roma pass AC Milan into the final Champions League place, but instead they remain fifth on 34 points, one back of the coveted fourth position.
Mohamed Fares scored a howitzer in the 87th minute and SPAL came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 over Parma, earning a critical three points in the relegation battle. Fares pounced on a headed clearance by Alessandro Bastoni and rifled it into the back of the net from 25 yards out. That completed the three-goal comeback, after Roberto Inglese had put Parma 2-0 up with a brace. Mattia Valoti began the comeback by getting SPAL on the board in the 70th minute, and Andrea Petagna equalized five minutes later to set up the dramatic finish. SPAL came into the day just four points above the drop zone, but with the win and Bologna’s 4-0 loss to Frosinone, they moved to 13th on 21 points, a much safer seven points above the bottom three.