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Salah shines in full debut as Fiorentina beat Sassuolo
It didn’t take Viola long to get into the game with Egypt international Mohamed Salah dribbling through the left flank and sending a powerful shot that was parried away by Sassuolo goalkeeper Consigli just after a couple of minutes.
In the 30th minute, Salah scored his first goal for Fiorentina after joining on loan from Chelsea, after driving an angled shot past Consigli to make it 1-0 to Viola after a sensational backheel assist from Babacar.
Two minutes later Fiorentina tried doubled their lead when Consigli made a double save after Marcos Alonso and Babacar had shots on goal.
Following that Salah returned the favour to Babacar, with the winger setting up his Senegalese teammate in front of the opponent’s goal to give the Florence-based club a 2-0 lead in the 32nd minute.
In the second half the hosts started bravely start but Babacar was once again there to upset Sassuolo with a cool finish from a defensive error to make it 3-0 in the 62nd minute.
Five minutes later Domenico Berardi scored a consolation goal for Sassuolo when he sent a looping header past goalkeeper Tătărușanu, before Salah was eventually replaced after 82 minutes.
Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella expressed delight after the match, labelling it as ‘one of our best in recent months’.
“I had asked the team to not make it easy for me to choose the line-up and that’s what they have done,” said Montella, as translated by Football Italia.
“They are all important for me and I will try to ensure they are all involved this season. This was a very mature performance against tough opponents who like to play in your half.
“I am truly very satisfied with the game, perhaps one of our best in recent months. Babacar has what it takes to be a champion, but has to refine those skills and improve his consistency.
“Salah can play well as a support striker, maybe even better than in his usual wide role, as long as he has the chance to move along the line.”
Fiorentina, who face Tottenham on Thursday in Europa League round of 32, have strengthened their position in the race for 4th place with this win and closed the gap on third place to four points to keep their chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League alive.