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Matri has pair in debut; Fiorentina routs Catania

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The Canadian Press
1/19/2014 5:34:40 PM
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MILAN, Italy -- Alessandro Matri scored twice on his Fiorentina debut to help his new team win 3-0 at bottom club Catania in Serie A on Sunday.

Matri had only scored once in six months for AC Milan but now has more goals for Fiorentina after a brilliant first half.

"Today was an afternoon I dreamed about," Matri said. "I really wanted to get back to helping the team. It's been a difficult six months, in which I suffered, and I thank those who were close to me, my family and my girlfriend, I dedicate the goals to them."

Fiorentina moved three points behind Napoli in the race for third place and the final Champions League berth after the Naples club were held to a 2-2 draw by 10-man Bologna.

Napoli thought it had won after goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon but Rolando Bianchi scored his second of the game in the final minute.

In the evening game, Clarence Seedorf got off to a winning start as coach after Mario Balotelli's penalty helped AC Milan beat Hellas Verona 1-0.

"After the match we all gathered in a circle with our arms around each other. From now on we will always do that, regardless of the result. That way we will all look each other in the face," Seedorf said. "It is an important start and I am happy for this group. There's a lot of work still ahead of us, but everything is lighter and comes easier when you are winning."

Inter Milan lost 1-0 at Genoa for its third defeat in five league matches.

In the earlier kickoff, 10-man Lazio fought back after twice trailing to win 3-2 at Udinese. Elsewhere, it was: Chievo Verona 1, Parma 2; Atalanta 1, Cagliari 0; and Sassuolo 0, Torino 2.

With Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez injured, Matri was handed his Fiorentina debut days after joining on loan from Milan, and it did not take the former Juventus striker long to have an impact as he set up Fernandez for the opening goal in the 25th minute.

Matri got on the scoresheet three minutes later, getting the better of his marker to slide home Manuel Pasqual's pass. He doubled his tally four minutes from halftime when Catania goalkeeper Alberto Frison did brilliantly to deny Fernandez but Matri tapped home the rebound.

Matri was substituted at the start of the second half as a precaution after picking up a knock.

Fernandez almost scored his second of the match on the hour mark but hit the crossbar.

It was a disappointing return to the Catania bench for coach Rolando Maran, who had been sacked and replaced by Luigi De Canio in October.

Relegation-threatened Bologna had held Lazio to a draw last week and was looking to continue its unbeaten run under new coach Davide Ballardini.

It took a surprise lead eight minutes from halftime when Bianchi got in front of Raul Albiol to head in Alessandro Diamanti's cross.

Napoli strove for the equalizer and its hard work paid off shortly after the hour mark when Higuain smashed home a penalty after Panagiotis Kone bundled over Blerim Dzemaili.

Callejon fired Higuain's cross into the far corner 10 minutes from time and Napoli looked set to take all three points when Kone was sent off for a second booking four minutes later.

However, Bianchi drove home Diamanti's corner to snatch a draw.

Inter is eight points behind the top four as its miserable run continued.

Luca Antonelli was left unmarked to head home a corner seven minutes from time. Inter has won just one of its past eight league matches.

Verona is doing well in its first season back in the top flight and is level on points with Inter. Milan is struggling and replaced Massimiliano Allegri with former player Seedorf after last week's 4-3 loss to Sassuolo.

After beating Milan on the opening day, Verona appeared to be heading for a draw at San Siro before Alejandro Gonzalez's needless tackle on Kaka. Balotelli stepped up and fired powerfully into the right side of goal.

"It is a victory that we dedicate to Seedorf, the first game is the most difficult," Balotelli said.

Udinese is just three points off the drop zone after a third straight defeat. Bologna, Sassuolo and Chievo are all level on 17 points, four more than bottom two clubs Livorno and Catania.

Alessandro Matri (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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