Modena, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Khouma Babacar scored two goals and assisted on a third to lead Fiorentina to a 3-1 win at Sassuolo on Saturday that keeps the Viola in the hunt for a Champions League place.
Mohamed Salah was making his first start for Fiorentina since arriving on loan from Chelsea, and he found the net after 30 minutes before setting up Babacar for his first goal of the contest two minutes later.
Babacar added a third goal in the 62nd minute to put the result beyond reach for Fiorentina, while Domenico Berardi scored a consolation goal for Sassuolo in the 67th, but it couldn't prevent the hosts from losing for just the second time in eight games.
Sassuolo goalkeeper Andrea Consigli was busy in the early part of the match and he was called upon to make saves on Salah, Babacar and Matias Fernandez to keep the match scoreless.
However, he was unable to keep Salah from taking his next chance on the half- hour mark when a clever flick from Babacar released the Egyptian in behind the defense, allowing him to slot his shot past Consigli.
Salah returned the favor two minutes later with a pass to Babacar that saw him turn and fire a low shot past Consigli to double Fiorentina's advantage.
Babacar was in top form on Saturday and he added another goal in the 63rd when he took down a long ball inside the box with a nice touch before dispatching it inside the right post.
Berardi scored on a looping header five minutes later, but there was no way back for the hosts and the win allows Fiorentina to move to within four points of third-place Napoli, which lost 3-1 at Palermo on Saturday.
First-half goals from Achraf Lazaar and Franco Vazquez handed Palermo a 2-0 halftime edge, while Luca Rigoni added a third goal after the break for the hosts before a consolation tally from Napoli's Manolo Gabbiadini eight minutes from time.