Crazy!! Fiorentina 3-2 Genoa

Claudio Villa

Fiorentina are never going to survive this Champions League run unless they get a little crazy, and today was certainly that....

Fiorentina came into this match day in fourth place after their first win on the road in 2013 at Lazio looking to continue their good home form against Genoa, but it took a goalie mistake and an own goal in a wild and crazy 5 goal thriller to ensure the three points and hold onto 4th place.

Out on loan Viola players Juan Manuel Vargas and Mattai Cassani both got into the match, but long time former Fiorentina goalie Sebastien Frey injured himself in training and had to miss the match. Fiorentina got Alberto Aquilani returned from yellow card suspension to play a big part in the win.

Recap

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella put out his now standard 4-3-3 formation in front of Goalie Emiliano Viviano, with Nenad Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Stefan Savic and Manuel Pasqual in defense.

Aquilani, David Pizarro and Borja Valero filled out the midfield, while Juan Cuadrado, Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic slotted in the front.

In Frey's absence, Genoa coach Davide Ballardini had to resort to back up goalie Alexandros Tzorvas. In front of the sub he put out a 3-5-2 formation, consisting of defenders Andreas Granqvist, Daniele Portanova and Daniele Portanova, midfielders Eros Pisano, Juraj Kucka, Daniel Tözsér, Vargas and Luca Antonelli and forwards Andrea Bertolacci and Ciro Immobile.

The first half started out and remained completely dominated by the home side, as Cuadrado was called offside twice in the first six minutes and Fiorentina got off the first two shots of the match, both blocked on the way in as Genoa packed the box with defenders early.

In fact, it was 18 minutes before Genoa got their first, and only, shot of the first half off, an attempt by Bertolacci that was high and wide to the right.

Fiorentina came back with 4 shots in the next 6 minutes, a header from Aquilani that was saved, a miss, also from Aquilani and two shots from Ljajic and Jovetic, the first a miss and the latter blocked on the way in.

Just before the 30 minute mark, Pasqual had another shot blocked and just after the 30 minute mark, Jovetic got off a shot that required a save.

A few minutes after the 30 minute mark, however, Fiorentina finally broke through. Savic served a nice ball into the box for a charging Ljajic, who took the ball, drove along the back line and dished a nice pass past the goalie to a camped out Aquilani who directed it in.

Fiorentina didn't rest on their laurels this time around, as has been their recent pattern, getting the next four shots off before halftime, but none of them were dangerous and the half ended 1-0. Pizarro did earn a yellow card near stoppage on Bertolacci that would loom large before the match had ended.

La Viola owned the half with 68% possession and out shot Genoa 13 to 1, with 4 shots on goal to none for the visitors.

Rightly sensing that Genoa was over matched, Ballardini brought on two subs at the start of the half, Bosko Jankovic for Tözsér and Cristóbal Jorquera for Pisano.

The subs began to make an immediate difference as Genoa got off twice the number of shots they had had the first half in just the first six minutes of the half, a miss by Jorquera and a blocked shot by Jankovic.

Valero and Cuadrado came back with shots of their own, but one was blocked and the other missed.

At min 53, Vargas had a good chance from the left side and just inside the box, but it was blocked. A few minute later Vargas got off another shot from long range and Viviano was called upon to make his one save of the match.

Then the wheels started coming off the wagon for Fiorentina. Savic served up a weak header to the Goalie, which Viviano had to punch over the bar and that led to two corners that eventually led to Genoa's first goal, a header from Portanova from sub Jorquera.

Rather than sitting back and pouting, however, Fiorentina woke up and came back charging, with Pasqual serving in a cross that Genoa's back up goalie fumbled, perhaps due to contact with Jovetic, which dropped straight to Cuadrado's feet and he made no mistake.

After the goal, Cuadrado showed his qualifications for Dancing With The Stars as he launched into a dance routine that would make Carrie Ann Inaba proud.

Genoa kept up the pressure, however, and 7 minutes later the subs made another contribution as Jankovic headed to Antonelli and he made no mistake, tying the match at 2 all.

At the 73rd minute, Genoa made their final sub, bringing on Cassani for Vargas, and it would turn out to be a big move.Shortly thereafter, Fiorentina made two adjustments of their own, Luca Toni for Adem Ljajic and Matias Fernandez for Aquilani.

Fiorentina's substitutions paid immediate dividends as well as Fernandez earned a second yellow on Bertolacci, sending Genoa to ten men and two minutes later, on a corner from Valero, the ball went off Cassani and went into the back of the net.

The goal plus the ejection seemed to take the wind out of Genoa's sails as they failed to get another shot and La Viola saw off the match.

Fiorentina ended the match with 62% possession, out shot Genoa 21 to 9, with 6 shots on net to Genoa's 3.

Report Cards

Due to bad streams, i was unable to see a lot of this match, so I'll rely on Firenzeviola.it for their report cards.

Viviano(6)- A spectator for the entire first half, made one save on Vargas early in the second, also prevented an own goal by Savic by punching it over the net, but couldn't do much on Portenova's header nor on Antonelli's shot. Few Faults
Tomovic(6)- Good in coverage and closed in on Antonelli most of the match. Portonova surprised him on the header. Adequate.
Rodriguez(5.5)- Bad clearance early, hesitant for long stretches, gives Jankovic too much time to put in the assist for Antonelli. Nice header that eventually went off Cassani for the winner. Hesitant.
Savic(6.5)- good coverage, sometimes marked with rough play. Served the ball to Ljajic which resulted in teh first goal. Dangerous header back to his goalie, wobbles again and participates in the collective amnesia that marked the second Genoa goal. Was the safest in the back.
Pasqual(6)- acts as the quarter defender but never gives Ljajic much support. Gives a good pass that results in the second goal.
Aquilani(6.5)- Does very well, but shoots a nice ball from Cuadrado straight up int the air, closed the triangle well with Jovetic and scores from Ljajic. missed another shot wide in the second half. A bit more precision would be nice, but his prescense is being increasingly felt. Subbed for Fernandez; Fernandez(NA)- back in camp after a long absense, Jovetic gives him a good ball to score but he doesn't get the shot right, in the absense of Valero after the break will be useful. (note: he made at least one saving play on defense as well.)
Pizarro(6.5)- Directed the match with his usual skill, forced Bertolacci into the second yellow, putting Genoa down to ten men. Metronome.
Valero(7)- Escapes from three defenders and gets a shot off early, but it's blocked, unlucky on a rebound. Took too long on a free kick and got a silly yellow card, will miss the Cagliari match, but the rest before the Milan match might not be a bad thing. Subbed late for Migliaccio; Migliaccio(NA)- No time to make an impresion
Cuadrado(7)- Immediately inspired, is a pinch offside on the first chance for Fiorentina. Serves a nice ball that is wasted by Aquilani. Forces Rizzoli to pull out the card for the first Genoa yellow. Takes a dangerous shot that just misses over the crossbar and gets a well deserved goal, if only for the amont of runs on the flanks. Pendulum.
Jovetic(6)- Not a simple day, but gives a great deal of effort, but struggled delivering the ball. double sided
Ljajic(6.5)- Missed a good chance to get La Viola off to a good start on a sublime ball from Jovetic. Nice drive and service to Aquilani, but spent a good deal of the first half in the shadows. Disappeared a bit in the second half. Subbed late for Toni ; Toni(NA)- no chance to make an impression.


Montella(6.5)- The team is ready to play and came out and owned the whole first half. Genoa made a change at halftime and out shot and outscored the Viola and it took Vincenzo half an hour to make changes to compensate. However, the winning goal came 2 minutes after his changes, so it worked out in the long run. He'll have 13 days to figure out what to do in Sardinia without Borja, but nearly half of his normal starting lineup is likely to be out on National team duties.

ref
Nicola Rizzoli (6)- missed a few calls here and there, his side line refs missed a few more, mostly a solid match. Anyone other than Nicola probably would've called interference on the second Viola goal as well, but he lets it go.


His goal official proved to be completely worthless as he let the sideline ref give Genoa a corner when the ball clearly went off Genoa right in front of him, there really is no point in having those extra officials if they're not going to be used. Just another way for FIFA/UEFA to jerk us off.

Yellow Cards

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 *)


Pizarro (13)
Roncaglia (8)
Cuadrado (8)
Rodriguez (7) * - one game suspension on the next card.
Aquilani (4)
Migliaccio (4)
Valero (4) * - misses next match
Jovetic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Pasqual (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Savic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Tomovic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Ljajic (2)
Toni (2)
Fernandez (1)
Viviano(1)
Romulo (1)

Looking Ahead

International Break, lots of Viola out and about with their National Teams. Let's hope for no injuries! After the break a trip to Sardinia to play Cagliari. Fiorentina beat Cagliari 4-1 at the Franchi earlier this season, but results haven't been so kind over the years away in this fixture. Last season, Fiorentina were out shot by more than double and were held to a scoreless draw. the year before, a double for Alessio Cerci saw Fiorentina to a 2-1 win. Prior to that win, results included a 2-2 tie, a 1-0 loss, and a 2-1 loss.

Saturday, March 30 10:00 ET Cagliari v Fiorentina
Sunday, April 7 9:00 ET Fiorentina v AC Milan
Sunday, April 14 9:00 ET Atalanta v Fiorentina
Sunday, April 21 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Torino
Sunday, April 28 9:00 ET Sampdoria v Fiorentina
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET Fiorentina v AS Roma
Wednesday,May 8 2:45 ET Siena v Fiorentina
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Palermo
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET US Pescara v Fiorentina


Other Teams
Since we're coming down the stretch here, it's time to start watching the other squads around Fiorentina in the standings. This time last season it was the Relegation Zone watch, now it's the European Competition Watch. Take just a moment to savor that and reflect on just how far this squad has come in one season. Thank you Andrea Delle
Valle, Daniele Prade and Vincenzo Montella!

Standings

Juventus 65
Napoli 56
Milan 54
Fiorentina 51
Inter 47
Roma 47
Lazio 47
Catania 45

Schedules
Napoli
Saturday, Mar 30 4:00 ET Torino v Napoli
Sunday, Apr 7 2:45 ET Napoli v Genoa
Sunday, Apr 14 2:45 ET AC Milan v Napoli
Sunday, Apr 21 9:00 ET Napoli v Cagliari
Sunday, Apr 28 9:00 ET US Pescara v Napoli
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET Napoli v Internazionale
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET Bologna v Napoli
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET Napoli v Siena
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET AS Roma v Napoli

Milan
Saturday, Mar 30 1:30 ET Chievo Verona v AC Milan
Sunday, Apr 7 6:30 ET Fiorentina v AC Milan
Sunday, Apr 14 2:45 ET AC Milan v Napoli
Sunday, Apr 21 9:00 ET Juventus v AC Milan
Sunday, Apr 28 9:00 ET AC Milan v Catania
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET AC Milan v Torino
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET US Pescara v AC Milan
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET AC Milan v AS Roma
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET Siena v AC Milan


Inter
Wednesday, Apr 3 Sampdoria v Internazionale (Make Up)
Saturday, Mar 30 10:00 ET Internazionale v Juventus
Sunday, Apr 7 Internazionale v Atalanta
Sunday, Apr 14 9:00 ET Cagliari v Internazionale
Sunday, Apr 21 9:00 ET Internazionale v Parma
Sunday, Apr 28 9:00 ET Palermo v Internazionale
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET Napoli v Internazionale
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET Internazionale v Lazio
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET Genoa v Internazionale
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET Internazionale v Udinese


Lazio
Saturday, Mar 30 10:00 ET Lazio v Catania
Thursday, Apr 4 3:05 ET Fenerbahce v Lazio (Europa League)
Monday, Apr 8 2:45 ET AS Roma v Lazio
Thursday, Apr 11 3:05 ET Lazio v Fenerbahce (Europa League)
Monday, Apr 15 2:45 ET Lazio v Juventus
Sunday, Apr 21 9:00 ET Udinese v Lazio
Sunday, Apr 28 9:00 ET Parma v Lazio
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET Lazio v Bologna
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET Internazionale v Lazio
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET Lazio v Sampdoria
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET Cagliari v Lazio

Catania
Saturday, Mar 30 10:00 ET Lazio v Catania
Sunday, Apr 7 9:00 ET Catania v Cagliari
Sunday, Apr 14 9:00 ET Chievo Verona v Catania
Sunday, Apr 21 9:00 ET Catania v Palermo
Sunday, Apr 28 9:00 ET AC Milan v Catania
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET Catania v Siena
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET Sampdoria v Catania
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET Catania v US Pescara
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET Torino v Catania

AS Roma

Saturday, Mar 30 10:00 ET Palermo v AS Roma
Monday, Apr 8 2:45 ET AS Roma v Lazio
Sunday, Apr 14 9:00 ET Torino v AS Roma
Sunday, Apr 21 9:00 ET AS Roma v US Pescara
Sunday, Apr 28 9:00 ET AS Roma v Siena
Sunday, May 5 9:00 ET Fiorentina v AS Roma
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET AS Roma v Chievo Verona
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET AC Milan v AS Roma
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET AS Roma v Napoli

Quotes

Montella:

"We have matured compared to the early games this season and are more fluid in our football," the Coach told Rai Sport.

"These are three important points and we deserved them. It’s a shame we didn’t have the strength to kill off the game, but we still picked our heads up twice to fight back, so I compliment the lads.

"Serie A is still wide open, so we need to rapidly improve our form away from home."

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