Josip Ilicic and Javier Pastore strike as Viola comeback falls short thanks to Sirigu's heroics.Palermo held off 10-man Fiorentina to record their second Serie A win of the season as Salvatore Sirigu's save from Adem Ljacic's penalty helped to score a 2-1 win at the Artemio Franchi.
Ilicic came closest to an early goal when cutting onto his favoured left foot and striking a sweet shot off the underside of the crossbar with Sebastien Frey flat-footed. Moments later the Viola could have grabbed the lead themselves when Alessio Cerci ghosted past Antonio Nocerino but had his near post effort saved by Salvatore Sirigu.
But on 20 minutes the Rosanero grabbed the lead when Ilicic picked the ball up 25 yards from goal on the right and struck a magnificent outswinger into the far top corner to leave Frey with no chance. It was the Slovenian’s third goal in his young Serie A career since arriving from Maribor.
The away side doubled their advantage just when it appeared that Fiorentina were getting back into the game. Pastore began a counter-attack before taking a return pass from Nocerino and keeping his cool to take the ball around Frey and sidefoot home. The small travelling contingent were going barmy as Palermo’s trend of winning every second season in Florence looked set to continue.
With Fiorentina on the back foot and making no great progress at the start of the second period, coach Sinisa Mihajlovic replaced Marco Marchionni with Mario Santana and reaped immediate rewards.
Santana got to the bye-line on the left and cut the ball back to Alberto Gilardino, who got beyond Cesare Bovo with a run to the near post and tucked the ball past Sirigu.
Just six minutes later the Viola should have been level after being rewarded an incredibly harsh penalty kick. As a cross came in from the left, Federico Balzaretti withdrew his arm to chest the ball wide for a corner, but referee Paolo Mazzoleni incredibly awarded a spot kick for handball. Justice was done though when Sirigu produced a strong two-handed save from Adem Ljacic’s effort from 12 yards.
Sirigu’s heroics had only just started though, as first he saved at full stretch from Gilardino and then made an amazing save from Ljacic, pushing the ball onto the post from the Serbian’s shot on the turn.
The home side’s fightback seemed effectively over in the 74th minute though when skipper Riccardo Montolivo was sent off for denying Bovo a clear goalscoring opportunity on the break.
The result eases the pressure on Palermo boss Delio Rossi, but leaves Mihajlovic in fear for his own future as the Viola drop into the bottom four after six rounds, having collected just five points so far.