Torino eye Europe as Sampdoria, Fiorentina back to winning ways

Emmeline MOORE

Milan (AFP) - Alejandro Berenguer struck the only goal as Torino beat Bologna in Serie A on Sunday to make it three wins in a week and close in on the Europa League places, as Sampdoria hammered relegation rivals Brescia 5-1.

Fiorentina got their first win since October against bottom club SPAL with German Pezzella scoring the only goal eight minutes from time.

Torino climb to seventh in the Serie A table, three days after being taken to penalties by Genoa before advancing to the Italian Cup quarter-finals.

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Spaniard Berenguer finished off a cross from captain Andrea Belotti on 11 minutes as Torino move two points off sixth-placed Cagliari, who are in the last Europa League place.

Rodrigo Palacio missed two chances to equalise for Bologna with just the keeper to beat, leaving Sinisa Mihajlovic's side in 12th position.

"Today's victory is very important, because it gives us continuity," said Belotti, after shocking Roma at the Stadio Olimpico last weekend.

Hellas Verona are two points behind Torino in eighth after snatching a 2-1 win over Genoa in a game which was delayed for 15 minutes in order to redo the uneven lines of the two penalty areas.

- Wonky lines -

A pitch inspection at Verona's Stadio Bentegodi found that the lines marking the penalty box were visibly not straight.

Promoted Verona hit back after Antonio Sanabria had put Genoa ahead just before the break when he finished off a well-worked move created by Francesco Cassata in midfield.

Valerio Verre got the equaliser from the spot on 55 minutes after Cristian Romero brought down Mattia Zaccagni.

Zaccagni tapped in the winner 10 minutes later to leave Genoa in the relegation zone.

City rivals Sampdoria move five points clear of the drop zone with veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella scoring a brace in their thumping win over Brescia.

"We are starting to break away from the quicksand of the relegation zone, but it's still there and we have to keep going," said Ranieri, who next play title-chasing Lazio.

Jhon Chancellor nodded in after 12 minutes for Brescia.

But Karol Linetty volleyed in the equaliser on 34 minutes and provided the cross for Jakub Jankto to put the hosts ahead just before the break.

Last season's top scorer Quagliarella gave Sampdoria a third from the spot for his first home goal this season, and added a second in injury time.

In Florence, Patrick Cutrone got his first start for Fiorentina since his move from Wolverhampton Wanderers this week, playing the final 15 minutes in the tight win over rock-bottom SPAL.

Pezzella struck later to give new coach Giuseppe Iachini his first win for 14th-placed Fiorentina who are now seven points above the drop zone.

Udinese beat Sassuolo 3-0 for their third consecutive victory to move level on points with Napoli in 11th position.

Stefano Okaka headed in after 14 minutes in Udine with Ivorian midfielder Seko Fofana providing the assists for Ken Sema and Rodrigo de Paul's second-half goals.

Champions Juventus play Roma in the Italian capital later on Sunday looking to pull ahead of Inter Milan who were held 1-1 by Atalanta on Saturday.

Antonio Conte's Inter are one-point ahead of the eight-time reigning champions with Lazio third after they stretched their winning streak to 10 games thanks to Ciro Immobile grabbing the only goal against struggling Napoli.

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