The title race is open again in Italy, too, as Fiorentina beat Juventus 2-1 to leave the leader only one point ahead of Roma, a 2-1 winner over Udinese, although it has a game in hand.
Fiorentina was worthy of the win, courtesy of goals from Nikola Kalinic and Milan Badelj. Kalinic was linked with a move to China this month–and a €45 million offer would certainly give the club something to think about. The win moves Fiorentina to within six points of European places, and gives coach Paulo Sousa a platform for the second half of the season.
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“Determination, belief, courage and ambition are elements I’ve been trying to instill in my team and each individual player from the start,” he said after the game. “Naturally when we have those elements, the quality of our football improves. This victory must boost our self-belief, so we know that we can achieve great things and play like this every week.”
As a former Juventus player, Sousa's notable result against the team will no doubt add him to the list of possible names to replace Max Allegri in Turin, should the time come sooner than later.
Allegri was criticized for not playing Miralem Pjanic, whom he said had a muscle strain, and his postgame soundbite was the standard, “The title is not won in January.” If Juventus wins its game in hand, it would still be four points clear, but Roma is on a great run of form (it's won six of its last seven Serie A matches), and so is Juventus’s next opponent, Roma rival Lazio. The current leader and five-time reigning champion is still the favorite, but this season does not look like the procession it has been it recent years.