Gilardino double helps Fiorentina crush Roma

ROME - Two goals by Alberto Gilardino helped Fiorentina to a 4-1 win over 10-man AS Roma in Serie A on Saturday. The victory moved Fiorentina into fourth position with five games remaining, boosting their prospects of a place in a two-legged playoff for a spot in the Champions League group stage. Peruvian Juan Manuel Vargas set the hosts on their way with a sixth-minute piledriver. Italy forward Gilardino headed in a Franco Semioli cross just after the break and then took advantage of poor defending to poke in his second before Massimo Gobbi completed the rout with a 73rd-minute tap-in. Julio Baptista pulled one back in the closing stages for visiting Roma, who had midfielder David Pizarro sent off for clashing with Semioli in the 59th minute. Fiorentina have 58 points, one more than surprise package Genoa who can regain fourth place by beating relegation-threatened Bologna on Sunday. Defeat left injury-hit Roma, who were without suspended defender Philippe Mexes, in sixth spot on 52. There were clashes between fans before the game and a window in Roma's team bus was smashed when it was entering the ground, Italian media reported. Earlier on Saturday mid-table Udinese won 2-1 at 16th-placed Chievo Verona thanks to midfielder Gaetano D'Agostino's double. Inter Milan will aim to close in on the title with victory at Napoli on Sunday while Juventus and AC Milan, 10 points behind in joint second, play Reggina and Palermo respectively.