Super sub Babacar rescues Fiorentina


Milan (AFP)

Senegalese striker Khouma Babacar came on as a late substitute to score the only goal as Fiorentina moved closer to European action with a 1-0 win at Cagliari on Friday.

The Tuscany side had been frustrated in Sardinia before Babacar came on after 70 minutes and picked up a Federico Chiesa cross with eight minutes to go.

"It was important to get these three points," said Babacar as his goal earned him a hug from coach Stefano Pioli as he came off the pitch.

"He told me to continue like this, as he always does," said Babacar.

"It's complicated not to play, but I have to keep working, focus and keep advancing," added the striker who has not played regularly under Pioli and been linked with a move to England and Crystal Palace in January.

Cagliari could thank goalkeeper Alessio Cragno for limiting the damage as he cleared a Giovanni Simeone header and a driving Chiesa effort.

The hosts were reduced to ten men when Joao Pedro was sent off late as his stamp on Chiesa's foot was caught by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Earlier Matti Destro scored a double -- after four and 90 minutes -- as midtable Bologna grabbed a 3-2 win at Chievo, in 13th, despite being reduced to ten men when Andrea Poli saw red in Verona.