A history of the Juventus-Fiorentina rivalry as the two sides face off on Wednesday

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Serie A champions Juventus host Fiorentina on Wednesday with more than three points at stake from a thoroughly modern Italian derby.

Here is a look at why such bitterness exists between clubs who are 250 miles apart.

A HOLLOW VICTORY

Fiorentina put a dent in Juventus’ title charge with a long-awaited win at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in last season’s meeting between the two rivals in January. Nikola Kalinic and Federico Chiesa fired Fiorentina in front with goals in either half and, although Gonzalo Higuain got Juve back into it, Massimiliano Allegri’s side could not find an equaliser.

However, despite La Viola, who had not beaten Juve in Serie A since October 2013, finally earning some bragging rights, it was the men from Turin who went on to deliver yet another Scudetto, their 33rd title. Fiorentina, meanwhile, ended in eighth and Paulo Sousa was replaced as head coach by Stefano Pioli.

Nikola Kalinic, now at AC Milan, led Fiorentina to victory over Juventus last season.

Nikola Kalinic, now at AC Milan, led Fiorentina to victory over Juventus last season.

BRADY TAKES THE BLAME

On the final day of the 1981-82 campaign Fiorentina were level on points with Juventus heading into their respective matches against Cagliari and Catanzaro. While La Viola had a seemingly legitimate effort disallowed in their goalless draw in Sardinia, Irish midfielder Liam Brady scored a penalty against Catanzaro to seal a 1-0 win – and the Scudetto – for the Old Lady.

At the time, Fiorentina fans were heard saying: ”Meglio secondi che ladri.” Better to be second than to be thieves.

Liam Brady’s final-day goal for Juventus snatched the 1982 Scudetto out of Fiorentina’s grasp.

SELLING THE CROWN JEWEL

The two clubs managed to co-exist relatively peacefully for the rest of the decade. Fiorentina were too busy enjoying the goals and guile of Italy striker Roberto Baggio, who saved the Tuscans from relegation before leading them to a UEFA Cup final. His 43 goals in two seasons, coupled with financial concerns, meant the ‘Divine Ponytail’ had to be sold – to anyone apart from Juve of course.

But to the horror of the Viola fans he did move to Turin for £8million, causing riots to break out in the streets of Florence.

Roberto Baggio’s move from Fiorentina to Juventus led to riots in Florence.

DOUBLE STANDARDS?

When Fiorentina went bust in 2002 they had no choice but to reform and start again in the fourth tier, with the Della Valle family taking the reins of a new club boasting only one high-profile player, Angelo Di Livio. There was enmity later, when Juve were spared from a similar fate despite their heavy involvement in the ‘Calciopoli’ scandal, which had seen several officials attempt to influence referee appointments.

The Bianconeri were placed in Serie B and won an immediate promotion painlessly.

Many connected to Fiorentina felt Juventus' forced relegation to Serie B was insufficient punishment for the Calciopoli scandal.

Fiorentina felt the punishment given to Juventus for the calciopoli scandal was too lenient.

DIMITAR DIVERTED

In 2012, Dimitar Berbatov was looking for a way out of Manchester United after his goals dried up at Old Trafford. Fiorentina were quick to act, buying plane tickets for the Bulgarian after getting permission to talk to him and, as the news spread, hundreds of fans gathered at the airport.

Except the striker never arrived.

Juve had intervened to offer higher wages, eliciting a furious club statement from Fiorentina, with the whole event simply creating more animosity as he ultimately joined Fulham.

Dimitar Berbatov caused a transfer tug-of-war between Fiorentina and Juventus in 2012 before eventually signing for Fulham.

Dimitar Berbatov caused a transfer tug-of-war between Fiorentina and Juventus in 2012.

REVENGE ON THE MENU

Paul Pogba and Carlos Tevez were left red-faced after celebrating first-half goals with the machine-gun salute of Fiorentina favourite Gabriel Batistuta in October 2013 as the Tuscans fought back to win. Before last season, it remained the only previous Viola victory in Serie A although Fiorentina did enjoy a 2-1 Coppa Italia semi-final first-leg win at the Juventus Stadium in March 2015.

After their narrow league triumph one year earlier, Juve tweeted that Fiorentina were nice to have “for lunch”.

Paul Pogba infuriated Fiorentina fans by copying Viola legend Gabriel Batistuta's famous machine gun celebration in 2013, but Fiorentina came back to win.

Paul Pogba infuriated Fiorentina fans by copying Viola legend Gabriel Batistuta’s celebration.

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Juventus ride on Paulo Dybala hat-trick to maintain perfect record in Serie A

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Juventus beat Sassuolo 3-1 thanks to Dybala'a hat-trick.

A Paulo Dybala hat-trick lifted Juventus back to the summit of Serie A alongside Inter Milan with a 3-1 victory at Sassuolo on Sunday making it four wins out of four for the champions.

The Argentina forward left the pitch ten minutes from the end to a standing ovation from the crowd at the Mapei Stadium following a masterclass performance by the 23-year-old who has now scored eight goals in four games.

His first was a left-footed volley from the edge of the box to beat Andrea Consigli on 16 minutes, the second a close-range effort again surprising the Sassuolo goalkeeper just after the break and the third a sublime free-kick on 63 minutes.

Sassuolo managed to get a consolation goal through Matteo Politano after a Stephan Lichtsteiner error on 51 minutes.

“I wanted to score one and three came along,” said Dybala after his second hat-trick of the season and his 52nd goal in his 100th match for Juventus.

The victory also helped Massimiliano Allegri’s team bounce back from the disappointment of their midweek Champions League defeat to Barcelona.

“The team gives me confidence and I also compliment the coach who gives me the freedom to play where I want,” added Dybala.

But despite Dybala’s heroics Allegri said improvement was needed after Juve allowed Sassuolo to get back into the game.

“Even when we were 2-0 up today, we lost a little concentration,” he said. “We shouldn’t have conceded.”

And Allegri believes that Dybala has not yet reached his full potential.

“He is improving in all aspects of the game. He is very young and has much room for improvement. When he plays like that he is unstoppable.”

Dybala’s compatriot Gonzalo Higuain came close several times but failed to finish off in Reggio Emilia.

Higuain could not get his name on the score-sheet despite multiple chances.

Higuain could not get his name on the score-sheet despite multiple chances.

“There’s no problem with Higuain,” said Allegri. “It’s something that can happen over the course of a season.

“He should remain calm because he has always scored goals and will continue to do so.”

Juventus leapfrog Inter, also on the maximum 12 points but behind on goal difference. They won 2-0 at Crotone on Saturday.

Napoli could also join the leading two by making it four wins from four when they play neighbouring Benevento later.

Lazio and Torino can move into the top part of the table if they beat Genoa and Sampdoria respectively later Sunday as AC Milan host Udinese.

Roma eased past Verona 3-0 on Saturday.

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Ivan Perisic scores stunner to lead Inter to 2-0 win over SPAL

David Cooper 10/09/2017
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Ivan Perisic

Inter Milan claimed a third straight win with a Mauro Icardi penalty and Ivan Perisic volley giving them a 2-0 win over SPAL to join Juventus at the top of the Serie A table on Sunday.

Champions Juventus beat Chievo 3-0 on Saturday and Luciano Spalletti’s side were too strong for promoted SPAL in the San Siro.

Icardi added to his Serie A tally this season with a 27th-minute penalty giving him a fifth goal after braces in the opening two games.

The penalty was awarded after the intervention of the VAR video referee, after Joao Mario was tripped inside the box with Icardi slotting in.

Perisic sealed the victory after 87 minutes with a powerful volley into the top corner.

Inter and Juventus have nine points from three games and could be joined by AC Milan and Napoli later Sunday.

Lazio’s game against Milan in Rome was pushed back an hour because of torrential rain in the capital with Napoli playing in Bologna.

Paulo Dybala inspired Juventus to a 3-0 win over Chievo on Saturday ahead of next week’s Champions League opener at Barcelona with the game between Sampdoria and Roma in Genoa postponed because of adverse weather conditions.

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