Emotional Fiorentina win, Dybala shines in Serie A

March 12, 2018
Fiorentina's Vitor Hugo celebrates with teammates after scoring in the Serie A match between Fiorentina and Benevento, at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Italy, yesterday. Fiorentina won 1-0.
Juventus' Paulo Dybala celebrates his goal in his team's 2-0 win over Udinese.


Fiorentina played their first match since the death of captain Davide Astori, beating Benevento 1-0 on an emotional Sunday at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The 31-year-old Astori was found dead in his hotel room last Sunday after a suspected cardiac arrest before his team was to play an Italian league match at Udinese.

The Fiorentina players and staff all came out for the warmup wearing Astori No. 13 shirts and lined up next to a giant poster of his shirt and the words 'Captain forever'. They also held up a banner with 'Ciao Davide' before kick-off.

There were plenty more No. 13 shirts and banners in the stands, including in the visitors' section, with one huge one that read: "There are men who never die. There are stories that are passed on through eternity. Bon voyage, Captain."

Purple and white balloons were released after an impeccably observed minute's silence as part of a series of deeply moving scenes.

The players also stopped in the 13th minute of the match and there was special choreography in the stands, with the fans turning one end purple with 'Davide 13' while everyone chanted Astori's name.

Vitor Hugo, the player who replaced Astori in the starting line-up, scored the only goal of the match in the 25th minute, leaping high to head in Riccardo Saponara's corner.

He celebrated by running to the bench with a T-shirt bearing Astori's face, giving it to a member of staff, and saluting it.

Paulo Dybala scored twice as Juventus beat Udinese 2-0 despite Gonzalo Higuain missing another penalty.




Dybala, nicknamed 'La Joya' (The Jewel), broke the deadlock in the 20th minute, curling a trademark free kick into the top corner.

Higuain should have doubled his side's lead after Dybala was fouled in the area by Gabriele Angella, but he saw his spot kick saved by Udinese goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri shortly before half time.

It was the fifth penalty Higuain has missed in Serie A.

Higuain atoned for his error by setting up Dybala's second four minutes after the break.

It was Dybala's fourth goal in his past three matches.

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