November 30, 2019 / 4:36 PM / 8 days ago

Lecce end winless run at struggling Fiorentina

(Reuters) - Lecce recorded their first win in more than two months to stun Fiorentina with a 1-0 Serie A victory at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Saturday as the hosts lost Franck Ribery to injury.

Andrea La Mantia’s diving header early in the second half earned the visitors a precious victory that moved them up to 14th place, four points clear of the relegation zone.

The pressure is increasing on Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella after three consecutive league defeats left his side in 11th place on 16 points.

Fiorentina created the better chances in the first half but failed to take them, and things got worse when Ribery limped off the pitch just before halftime.

La Mantia latched onto a cross to head the visitors in front five minutes into the second half and goalkeeper Gabriel made some excellent saves before Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic ballooned a finish over when unmarked inside the box.

Lecce substitute Khouma Babacar wasted a glorious chance to wrap up the points with a tame finish, but they held on to record their third win of the season and end an eight-match winless run.

Earlier on Saturday, two goals from Mario Pasalic helped Atalanta to a convincing 3-0 win at struggling regional rivals Brescia.

The Croatian midfielder headed in from close range midway through the first half before adding his second after the break with a neat backheel flick.

Josip Ilicic’s strike then wrapped up a comfortable victory in stoppage time at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti to leave Brescia in further trouble at the bottom of the standings.

Pasalic could have had a hat-trick, as his first-half header came back off the post, while Atalanta substitute Ruslan Malinovskyi was also denied by the woodwork.

Mario Balotelli was restored to the Brescia team after being dropped by coach Fabio Grosso and he had their best chance of the game when he fired a second-half shot against the crossbar.

Yet it was a deserved victory for Gian Piero Gasperini’s side which ended Atalanta’s four-match winless league run, while condemning Brescia to a sixth consecutive defeat.

The win kept Atalanta sixth in the standings on 25 points while Brescia remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just seven points.

Torino moved into the top half of the table with a 1-0 win away at Genoa thanks to a Bremer header, before they had substitute Simone Edera sent off after he picked up two late yellow cards within seven minutes of coming on.

Genoa were denied by the woodwork twice before going behind inside the final 15 minutes, extending their winless run to five games and leaving them in the relegation zone with 10 points.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, Editing by Ian Chadband and Ed Osmond

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