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November 11, 2019

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Radja soars as Cagliari goes third

Radja Nainggolan inspired Cagliari to a 5-2 win over Fiorentina as the Sardinians continued their fine form to move third in the Italian Serie A yesterday.

The Mediterranean outfit has 24 points from 12 games — seven points behind leader Inter Milan, which moved top after beating Hellas Verona 2-1 on Saturday.

Defending champion Juventus is second and can reclaim the No. 1 spot when it hosts 13th-placed AC Milan later yesterday.

“Not even in the most optimistic forecasts could we have imagined being here,” said Cagliari coach Rolando Maran. “Radja is capable of extraordinary things and you just have to stand back and applaud.”

Fiorentina is struggling without Franck Ribery who has been given a three-match ban for pushing an official.

But Cagliari, which battled relegation last season, has been in superb form since Nainggolan returned after five years, including a difficult season at Inter last term. The Belgian had three assists and capped a stellar performance with the fifth goal of the game after 65 minutes.

Tuscans are eighth

Serb Dusan Vlahovic pulled two late goals back for Fiorentina in the final quarter of an hour but the Tuscans are eighth.

The game was halted at the 13th minute, as both teams paid tribute to former Fiorentina captain Davide Astori who also played for Cagliari.

Four minutes later Nainggolan set up Mark Rog for the opener, with Fabio Pisacane nodding in the second less than ten minutes later.

The 31-year-old Nainggolan was involved again in Giovanni Simeone’s third goal against the Spanish forward’s parent club, as well as Joao Pedro’s effort ten minutes after the break, before blasting in his second goal of the campaign from a distance.

He was given a standing ovation when substituted after 78 minutes.

“There is little to comment, it was an ordeal,” said Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella. “They were clearly superior to us. We need to draw lessons from this.”

Cagliari extended its winning run to a third consecutive game and is unbeaten in ten games, which includes seven victories.


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