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Injury-plagued Giuseppe Rossi's bid to relaunch his career at Fiorentina could be given a boost when Roma visit the Artemio Franchi stadium looking to snatch top spot from La Viola on Sunday.
Rossi waiting for Fiorentina call in Roma clash

Injury-plagued Giuseppe Rossi's bid to relaunch his career at Fiorentina could be given a boost when Roma visit the Artemio Franchi stadium looking to snatch top spot from La Viola on Sunday.

For the first time in years the Italian title fight looks wide open with Inter Milan, Fiorentina, Napoli and Roma all showing signs of having the tools to end the domination of Juventus.

Juventus have won the title four years in succession but changes to personnel during the summer have thrown a spanner into the works and the Turin giants have yet to show their championship mettle.

Before they host Atalanta on Sunday, Massimiliano Allegri's men sit in 14th place, four points above the drop zone and nine behind Fiorentina.

Fiorentina's impressive run has come with just two defeats and six wins, one of which was a 4-1 hammering of Inter at the San Siro that underlined the class of Croatian hat-trick hero Nikola Kalinic.

But Kalinic's impressive form has been a problem for Rossi.

In nearly three years with La Viola, the American-born striker has mostly been sidelined with a succession of knee injuries and, following his latest return, on August 30, he agreed with the club to accept a pay cut.

Yet Rossi is held in such high regard in Florence that fans expect him to play when he is match fit.

Those claims will increase after Rossi scored Fiorentina's only goal, in the 90th minute, in a 2-1 home defeat to Lech Poznan in the Europa League on Thursday.

But coach Paulo Sousa, speaking before the fixture, pledged: "Of course there's a lot of emotion surrounding Giuseppe, but we have to have a balanced approach.

"He hasn't played for nearly two years, but he is doing well and will get his fair share of chances."

It was Fiorentina's third straight home reverse in the competition but it has immediately refocused their energy on Sunday's challenge.

"Roma have been built (to challenge) for the scudetto, but we want to impose our game as we always do. It will be a very difficult game," said Fiorentina defender Davide Astori.

Roma sit in second place at only one point behind but although leading the league with 20 goals, Rudi Garcia's men have defensive flaws.

Roma were on their way to a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday, having fought back from a two-goal deficit, but somehow surrendered to finish 4-4.

"When you concede four times, it's not only the fault of the defence but of the entire team," said Garcia, who reports say could be tempted to rest former Fiorentina star Mohamed Salah in favour of Bosnian Edin Dzeko.

Anything less than a draw for either side would be embraced by Inter, who would regain top spot if they account for Palermo in Sicily.

Roberto Mancini's men sit in third place on 17 points, below Roma only on goal difference, and, on paper, are considered the title favourites.

Inter failed to qualify for Europe this season, meaning they spent their midweek beating AC Milan in the annual Berlusconi Trophy played to honour the father of AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi.

Inter sent out a second string team, which beat Milan's Serie A stars 1-0 thanks to Geoffrey Kondogbia's first goal since he scored for Monaco to send the Ligue 1 side into the Champions League quarter-finals last February.

Milan host high-flying Sassuolo in a fixture that could realistically turn in the visitors' favour.

On-form Napoli, who sit in fourth at three points off the pace, travel to Chievo looking to replicate the form that saw them run out 4-1 winners over Midtjylland in the Europa League Thursday.

Argentinian striker Gonzalo Higuain scored the fourth goal and come Sunday, he could have a goals appetite fit to see him go clear of Sampdoria's Eder and teammate Lorenzo Insigne, who have also scored six times in the league.

Source: Justin DAVIS/ AFP
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