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Last month, the footballing world was met with the awful news that Fiorentina captain Davide Astori had passed away after suffering a heart attack in his hotel room in Udine as the team were preparing for the Serie A game with Udinese.
It must have been a horrible few months for the Viola players and you wouldn't have been able to blame them had they not been in the right frame of mind for games - because of the heartache and grief they will have experienced.
But, touchingly, Fiorentina have been doing their skipper proud with their performances of late.
Against Benevento, in their first game since the loss of the former Italy international, emotions were understandably high - with every player, as well as manager Stefano Piolo, wearing shirts with 'Astori 13' on the back in the warm-up and walk-on.
:purple_heart: "Ciao Davide" :purple_heart:- Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 11, 2018
Emotional scenes at the Stadio Artemio Franchi as Fiorentina pay tribute to Davide Astori. pic.twitter.com/YlF89x017t
The ball was kicked out of play in the 13th minute in a poignant tribute at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
With his shirt still hung up in the dressing room, Fiorentina battled to a 1-0 win and have continued to taste victory.
Since Astori's death, his teammates have won five games on the trot in Serie A and have equalled a long-standing club record of six consecutive victories in the process.
Fiorentina have won every game since the death of Davide Astori - their best run since 1960. The two things are not unrelated. Did my best to navigate the complex waters of grief and professional success for @guardian_sport - https://t.co/gX01NqnYDR- Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) April 9, 2018
:muscle: Fiorentina have won each of the five games they have played since Davide Astori passed away.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) April 9, 2018
:purple_heart: Doing him proud. pic.twitter.com/j2Vrx3FzsZ
Since Davide Astori passed away, @acffiorentina have won every match they have played :purple_heart:- Dugout (@Dugout) April 9, 2018
In doing so, they have equalled their 58-year club record for having 6 consecutive wins :trophy:
They are doing their captain proud :flag_it: pic.twitter.com/ZqcMkTUNwJ
Astori skippered the team a to a win over Chievo in what unfortunately turned out to be his last ever game, and Fiorentina have since beaten Benevento, Torino, Crotone, Udinese (in the rearranged fixture) and Roma - the latter triumph coming away at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.
After their excellent run of form, Fiorentina are seventh in the table, only two points behind sixth-placed AC Milan. The players and coaches deserve an incredible amount of respect for how they have got on with their job in such testing times.
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