Fiorentina beats Frosinone to return to top of Serie A

Dominating the ball possession and finding the goal with ease,  Fiorentina  returned to the top of Serie A  with a convincing 4-1 win over promoted Frosinone on Sunday.
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ROME (AP) — Dominating the ball possession and finding the goal with ease, Fiorentina returned to the top of Serie A with a convincing 4-1 win over promoted Frosinone on Sunday.

With Italian Premier Matteo Renzi cheering his home club on, Fiorentina opened up a 4-0 lead by halftime with goals from Ante Rebic, Gonzalo Rodriguez,Khouma Babacar and Mario Suarez.

Fiorentina also hit the goalframe twice beforeAlessandro Frara pulled one back for Frosinone three minutes from the end.

Fiorentina is level on points with Inter Milan but holds the edge on goal difference. The Tuscan squad has won eight of 11 matches and taken two straight after losing to Napoli and Roma the past two weekends.

Napoli missed a chance to make it a three-way tie at the top with a 0-0 draw at Genoa, ending the southern club's five-match winning streak.

Napoli created numerous scoring chances but couldn't find a way past Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin.

"I'm upset for the result but the squad is alive," Napoli coach Maurizio Sarri said. "We attempted to win right up to the end with a lot of determination. I'm not angry. I complimented the lads for the performance."

Inter edged Roma 1-0 on Saturday, leaving the Giallorossi one point behind.

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Also Sunday, Bologna beat Atalanta 3-0 in coach Roberto Donadoni's debut. Goals from Emanuele Giaccherini, Mattia Destro and Franco Brienza pushed Bologna within one point of climbing out of the relegation zone.

Carpi vs. Hellas Verona and Udinese vs. Sassuolo both finished 0-0.

Napoli is two points back in fourth and surprising Sassuolo is five points behind in fifth.

Fiorentina controlled 73 percent of the ball possession, a league high this season.

Fiorentina finished fourth last season and wasn't expected to contend for the title after the club fired manager Vincenzo Montella in June. But new coach Paulo Sousa has increased expectations for the "scudetto" — title — by expanding the Barcelona-like passing schemes begun under Montella and bolstering the defense.

"Our scudetto should be the creation of a winning culture, with the idea of dominating every match, even when there are difficulties or the details are against us," Sousa said. "That will carry us far."

Fiorentina rested its top scorer Nikola Kalinic, and Giuseppe Rossi only came on for the last half hour.

The Viola took the lead midway through the first half when a cross from Rebic confused Frosinone goalkeeper Massimo Zappino, hitting the corner of the goalframe and going in.

Rebic hit the woodwork again a minute later and then Rodriguez took advantage of poor defending to redirect in a free kick.

On the half-hour mark, Fernandez was taken down by Modibo Diakite to earn a penalty that Babacar converted with a soft shot.

A minute before the half ended, Suarez stripped Diakite of the ball and dribbled into the other end before beating Zappini with a low shot.

Suarez hasn't played much since transferring from Atletico Madrid and there had been speculation he could leave in January.

"Today the coach played me and I'm happy," Suarez said. "I'm happy to stay here. I'm happy to be at Fiorentina."

Barcelona product Joan Verdu replaced Babacar at halftime and hit the crossbar in the 83rd.

Frara took advantage of a defensive lapse to beat Fiorentina's third-choice goalkeeper Luca Lezzerini, who came on midway through the second half.