Fiorentina escaped from Torino with a tie and a point thanks to Mounir El Hamdaoui's heroics late in the match. Already depleted due to a Stevan Jovetic injury and David Pizarro suspension, La Viola lost both Alberto Aquilani (Hamstring) and Luca Toni (Concussion) to injuries as well. Fiorentina came into the match joint third in the table, tied with Napoli, while Torino were 13th.
Vincenzo Montello put out the familiar 3-5-2 formation, but had to change up his lineup do to the absentees. The back line was the same, Emiliano Viviano, Facundo Roncaglia, Gonzalo Rodriguez and Stefan Savic.
The midfield, however, was anchored by Ruben Olivera for David Pizarro. Juan Cuadrado, Alberto Aquilani, Borja Valero and Manuel Pasqual filled in at their usual places. Luca Toni started up front, but Matias Fernandez joined him out of position.
Giampiero Ventura fielded a 4-4-2 in front of Goalie Jean-Francois Gillet. Matteo Darmian, Kamil Glik, Angelo Ogbonna and Danilo D'Ambrosio in defense.
Former Viola players Alessio Cerci and Mario Santana made up the left and right midfield wings, respectively, while Migjen Basha and Alessandro Gazzi centered the midfield. Rolando Bianchi and Riccardo Meggiorini were the forwards.
The first 15 minutes of the match was very scattered and disjointed and was a back and forth affair. It took 17 minutes for the first shot of the match, a header by Aquilani just wide.
Cuadrado got off the second shot 5 minutes later but it a wild shot, high and wide.
At minute 28, after a corner given up by Pasqual, Toni and Glik clashed heads viciously. The Torino defender appeared to be unconscious and had to be stretchered off the field. Glik was ok, but had to have stitches and was substituted. Toni shook off the knock, but seemed a bit wobbly.
At min 35, Bianchi got off a shot, but it was blocked on the way in.
At min 38, things got worse for La Viola. Alberto Aquilani had to come off the pitch due to a hamstring injury, replaced by Adem Ljajic. Fernandez moved back to the midfield to cover Aquilani's spot and Ljajic played forward.
The changes seemed to leave Fiorentina a bit loose and Torino wasted no time and capitalized with a run by D'Ambrosio, who crossed it to Cerci, who scored his first goal of the season, almost predictably, against his old squad.
Fernandez got off a shot just wide before the half, but it missed. Luca Toni had to come off finally, due to dizziness, but surprisingly, instead of El Hamdaoui, Montella brought on Haris Seferovic, perhaps due to fitness concerns.
Cuadrado and Santana each got off shots before the half, but neither scored.
Torino ended the half with more possession, 53%, but Fiorentina had more shots, 5-3. Unfortunately, no Fiorentina shots were on net, while 2 of the 3 Torino shots were.
The second half started out much the way the first half had, with a lot of back and forth without resolution. Cerci and Roncaglia each getting off shots.
Fiorentina then began to impress their style on the match, possess the ball and push forward, looking for the equalizer. Rodriguez missed a header, Seferovic hit the post. Fernandez, Ljajic and Pasqual all with shots, but failed.
At minute 73, however, Fiorentina were bailed out by referee Damato, who gave Cuadrado a soft call in the box and granted a penalty kick. Rodriguez took and converted the kick to tie the match.
Torino came right back and took the lead again, as Savic was broken down on the outside by Valter Birsa, who whipped in a screamer from a sharp angle that Viviano was slow to react to.
6 minutes later, after another Seferovic miss, Montella played his last card, bringing in Mounir El Hamdaoui for Facundo Roncaglia, as Fiorentina committed everything they had forward.
The gamble paid off as two minutes later Cuadrado put a ball into the zone that El Hamdaoui settled, spun and lashed into the corner.
Viviano(5.5) - Only saved two of the four shots on goal. Both shots were from an angle and we need him to do better.
Roncaglia(6) - Played a bit farther forward than he usually does, probably because of the funky lineup. Had a decent chance but shot it very high. Subbed out for El Hamdaoui by Montella in a tactical gamble that paid off; El Hamdaoui(7) - Caught the ball, spun and shot and put it in the corner. He's probably the only pure shooter on the team and it's great to see him score twice in a row.
Rodriguez(6) - missed a clear header but scored on a penalty kick. Made a few good plays, but the entire defense was a bit scattered. Perhaps because the team was so committed to going forward. Gave up the ball and nearly the go ahead goal, but for Viviano.
Savic(5) - bad day for Stefan, Cerci ran around him like he was standing still more than once as did Birsa. Totally lost on the second Toro goal.
Cuadrado(6.5) - A bit ragged on his passing and crossing, but he got the assist on the tying goal. I expect a Cassani sighting midweek, however.
Aquilani(6) - Only played 38 minutes due to a hamstring issue, but he was doing well when he went out. Hooking up well with Cuadrado and just missed scoring on a header, let's hope he's not out for long; Adem Ljajic(5.5) - Ran through defenders almost at will, but couldn't connect much with anyone. Drove the ball into the zone, but just fell over. Once Toni went out, and until El Hamdaoui came in, the Viola front was nearly invisible
Olivera(5) - First half hour he played well on defense, but was poor on offense. The rest of the match he was just pants.
Valero(6) - Not as strong in the middle as he is with Pizarro, and the play suffered in the first half hour. In the last hour, however, he seemed to wake up and dictated play as Fior moved forward.
Pasqual(5.5) - a lot like the old Pasqual. Crosses to no one or straight to the defense, gave up the ball to easy then was slow getting back. No where to be found on wither Torino goal. He might be getting tired.
Toni(5.5) - Rough night for Luca. took an elbow in the face which Damato either ignored or missed, then went head to head with Glik and had to go out eventually for mild concussion symptoms ; Seferovic(5.5) - mostly invisible but did get off a shot that hit the outside of the post. Might see him midweek for the Coppa.
Fernandez(5.5) - Invisible for most of the first hour, playing forward just isn't his bag, I'm afraid. Once he moved back to the midfield he perked up and became more of a force. By the end of the match he was fully integrated, but missed a shot wide that he probably should've gotten on net.
Montella(6) - Questionable choices in his starting lineup. Olivera and Fernandez contributed nothing and were probably detrimental. After halftime, the team came out and played much better. Putting on El Ham for Roncaglia was perhaps desperate, but, in hindsight, maybe genius as well. A point on the road...
"It was a fantastic game and both teams wanted to win. I really liked the way my side played, both for the quality and their maturity in trying to fight for the victory.
"When you pour forward the way we did in the second half, it can happen that you allow something at the back, especially against a team like Torino.
"Any other group would’ve let their heads drop after conceding the second goal, but Fiorentina did well to grab the ball and try to score again. In all of this, we could’ve won or even lost."
"Football is like that, the exes usually score. I thought it might make him worth more next year."
"It is difficult to maintain third place, just as it was tough to get there. The team played with tenacity and determination and I really enjoyed the second half."
Yellow Card Situation
Disqualification of one game after the 4th, 8th, 12th, 15th and the 17th yellow card. Past 17, every yellow card is equivalent to a one-match ban. (Players receiving yellow cards in this match have an *)
Cuadrado (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Jovetic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Tomovic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Olivera (3) * - one game suspension on the next card.
Wednesday, November 28 3:00 ET Fiorentina v Juve Stabia (Coppa Italia)
Sunday, December 2 2:45 ET Fiorentina v Sampdoria
Saturday, December 8 2:45 ET AS Roma v Fiorentina
Sunday, December 16 6:30 ET Fiorentina v Siena
Wednesday, December 19 Udinese v Fiorentina (Coppa Italia: should Fior advance)
Saturday, December 22 9:00 ET Palermo v Fiorentina