La Viola's fight for The Coppa Italia and the Coccarda starts this weekend.
Meaningful games are here as the Third Round of the 65th edition of the Coppa Italia, now known as the TIM cup, starts this weekend as Novara comes to the Franchi Saturday at Noon Eastern Time.
Winners of the tournament get a trophy and the right to wear a tri-color cockade, or Coccarda, on their jersey, as well as an invitation to the Europa League, assuming that the winner doesn't qualify for that tourney, or the Champions League, by way of League finish.
The format is knock out with a single match at each stage, until the semi-finals, which are two legged, home and away. Until 2007-2008, the final was also two legged, but now is a single match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
The Coppa was first held in 1922, but was not held again until 1935-36. The inaugural winner was F.C. Vado, who defeated Udinese. Since that time, the most prolific winners have been AS Roma and Juventus, each with 9 trophies, followed by Internazionale with 7 victories.
Our Viola are fourth on the list of most victories, having lifted the Cup 6 times, in 1940, 1961, 1966, 1975, 1996 and 2001, respectively. Fiorentina have reached the Finals 3 other times, in 1958, 1960, and 1999 and lost in the Semi finals 9 times, in 1936, 1964, 1971, 1972, 1976, 1978, 1985, 1986, and 2010.
Fiorentina's first win in 1940 was over Genoa. In 1961, they beat Lazio. 1966 was a victory over Catanzaro and 1975 was a match up with AC Milan.
In 1995–96, Fior beat Atalanta with a goal from Batistuta at the Franchi and two goals at Atalanta, the first from Lorenzo Amoruso and another from Batigol, as La Viola won the Coppa with a 3-0 aggregate.
Fiorentina's most recent Coppa came in 2000-01. In the early stages, Fior beat Salernitana, Brescia and Milan, before advancing to the Final against Parma. The first leg was played at Stadio Ennio Tardini, and Fiorentina won that 1-0, with a goal from Paolo Vanoli. The return leg at the Franchi ended 1-1, with Parma striking first to even up the aggregate with a goal from Savo Milošević a few minutes before half-time. Parma held the lead until the 65th minute, when Nuno Gomes scored to put La Viola ahead on aggregate and win the Coppa.
This weekends match up is against Novara at Stadio Artemio Franchi and will be officiated by Davide Massa.
Fiorentina, in their history, have played Novara in Serie A 24 times, with 11 wins, 7 losses and 6 draws. Novara have reached the final of the Coppa only once, in 1938-39 losing to Ambrosiana Inter. Fiorentina have never lost to Novara at the Franchi in league play, winning 8 times and drawing 4 others.
Fiorentina faced Novara twice last season in Serie A, the first, a 3-0 win at Novara, with 2 goals from Stevan Jovetic, one a PK, bracketing a goal from Riccardo Montolivo.
The return match up at the Franchi was a frustrating event for Viola fans as Fior came into the match fighting for Serie A survival and were down by 2 goals before the match was 30 minutes old.
Fireworks ensued as then coach Delio Rossi removed Adem Ljajic from the lineup. The young Serb, obviously disturbed by the removal had words with the coach and it degenerated into a brawl on the bench, which resulted in Rossi's eventual firing. Two goals from Montolivo in the second half rescued the draw, and the point.
The result ensured relegation to Serie B for Novara, while Fiorentina went on to finish 13th, 10 points above the relegation zone.
Novara looks to have more problems this weekend as they have three defensive players out for injury and will have to field a patchwork lineup. The Tuscan heat might play a factor as well, as the forecast is predicting temperature over 100 degrees.
Novara (4-3-1-2) Bardi; Alborno, Lisuzzo, Ghiringhelli, Alhassan; Buzzegoli, Pesce, Marianini; Motta; Gonzalez, Piovaccari. Bench: Tonozzi, Sorrentino, Jensen, Faragò, Rubino, Libertazzi. Coach: Attilio Tesser
FIORENTINA (3-5-2): Lupatelli; Roncaglia, Nastasic, Rodriguez; Cassani, Valero, Pizarro, Aquilani, Pasqual; El Hamdaoui, Jovetic. Bench: Neto, Viviano, Hegazy, Olivera, Fernandez, Cuadrado, Lazzari, Romulo, Ljajic, Cerci Coach: Vincenzo Montella.