That's The Way I Like It!

Claudio Villa

Fiorentina beat Atalanta on the road and ensure fourth place for another week...

Fiorentina, in need of a big win and decimated with injuries and suspensions, went into Bergamo this evening and got exactly what they needed as they beat Atalanta, also suffering from missed players, 2-0 on a penalty kick from David Pizarro and a screamer of a goal from newcomer Marcelo Larrondo from Juan Cuadrado.

La Viola overcame a mediocre first half, in which they dominated possession, but never looked dangerous and gave up three dangerous chances to the home squad that goalie Emiliano Viviano had to come up big on to keep the squad in the match.

The second half was much more in the style Viola fans have become accustomed to, but it wasn't until Adem Ljajic and Larrondo entered the match that Fiorentina broke through and took the three points.

A straight red card on German Denis late for a rash tackle from behind on David Pizarro sealed Atalanta's fate.

Recap

Fiorentina Coach Vincenzo Montella had to really scramble to get a lineup out today with Stevan Jovetic, Stefan Savic and Luca Toni all unavailable due to injuries and Nenad Tomovic disqualified due to his phantom red card from the last match.

Montella decided to switch back to the 3-5-2 formation he had used earlier in the season, with Facundo Roncaglia, Gonzalo Rodriguez, back from suspension, and new comer Marvin Commper out on the left.

Momo Sissoko was inserted in between Juan Cuadrado and Pizarro, with Borja Valero and Manuel Pasqual rounding out the midfield. Pasqual had his own brush with injuries during the week, but managed to make the cut right before game time.

Alberto Aquilani moved forward and Mounir El Hamdaoui got the start in front, as Ljajic was suffering from muscle fatigue before the match and started the game on the bench.

Atalanta chief Stefano Colantuono had his own lineup woes to deal with, but his were mostly self inflicted as three midfielders were suspended for infractions during a 4-3 comeback win against Inter in their previous match. Cristian Raimondi, Luca Cigarini and Carlos Carmona were all disciplined while Riccardo Cazzola injured himself in practice and is out for the season.

Colantuono countered Montella with a 4-4-2 formation in front of goalie Andrea Consigl. Lionel Scaloni, Guglielmo Stendardo, Stefano Lucchini and Cristiano Del Grosso in defense, Franco Brienza, Davide Biondini, Ivan Radovanovic and Giacomo Bonaventura in the midfield with Marko Livaja and Germán Denis, fresh off a 12 minute hat trick in the last match. in front.

The match started out lively, with both sides pushing forward, but it was Atalanta with the first chance in the 11th minute as Commper gave up a free kick deep and Denis got a header right on goal on a cross from Bonaventura, but it was right at Viviano and he was up to the task.

Fiorentina began to push forward as well, and Valero earned a free kick in the attacking zone and Pasqual stepped up and took the free kick, but it was a bit out of his range and the ball drifted wide.

At minute 23, Denis got off another shot from Livaja but Viviano saved that one as well and Lucchinigot off a header from a corner kick that the Viola goalie need to save again.

Only two shots were left in the first half and both of those were Aquilani for Fiorentina. One a nice deep pass from Pizarro that Aquilani collected and shot weakly straight to the goalie and a header from a Pasqual cross

The teams went to halftime with Fiorentina owning 68% of the possession and leading in shots taken 4-3, but all three of Atalanta's shot were on target and dangerous, while only 2 of the viola shots were on goal and neither dangerous at all.

The second half started much as the first half had ended, with Fiorentina pressing forward and owning possession and it nearly paid off 6 minutes into the half as Sissoko got off a screamer of a shot, but the Atalanta goalie made a fine save and parried it away for a corner.

After the teams exchanged shots off the mark, Montella made his move, bringing in Ljajic and Larrando for Aquilani and El Hamdaoui.

It only took 2 minutes for Ljajic to make a difference as he charged into the box and centered a ball that went off Stendardo upper arm. The defenders arm was raised and well away from his body and the defender made no effort to avoid the contact, so in my opinion the penalty was well earned.

Pizarro stepped up and fired the ball into the back of the net and Fiorentina had the lead which, based on possession alone, they rightly deserved.

It took another 10 minutes for the other Viola sub to make his mark as Cuadrado served a perfect ball to Larrondo on a counter and the Argentine fired it past the goalie for the 2-0 lead.

Atalanta had a few more tries at getting into the match, but each shot missed the goal and Fiorentina frequently countered, with Ljajic charging down the field, outrunning and out dribbling the home squad, but eventually firing off a wild shot.

Right at the 90 minute mark, Pizarro dribbled out of trouble and Denis, in a moment of madness, dove at the back of his heels well after the midfielder had passed him by and cynically chopped down the Viola general, earning a red card and a game or more suspension going forward for his troubles.

Fiorentina saw off the match and will remain in fourth place, regardless of results yet to come as they go 4 points ahead of Lazio and 5 points ahead of inter.

Lazio host league leaders Juventus and Inter travel to Sardinia to play Cagliari, never an easy fixture, as Fiorentina well know. Third place AC MIlan host second place Napoli, so there's a chance to gain some ground on one or both of those squads as well.

Report Cards

Viviano(7)- 3 huge saves in the first half kept Fior in the game. Only called on for one save in the second half. Gave Denis a nice comical head rub as he was sent off for his red card. He's our guy, need him back next season.
Roncaglia(6)- much better match, had a few shaky clearances early on, nice tackle one on one in the box, kept them in it until the offense figured it out.
Rodriguez(6)- some very timely interventions, but a bit shaky at the start. Atalanta players had too much space on set pieces. need to tighten that up
Commper(6)- same as rodriguez, bit too much space early on, but nice interventions
Cuadrado(6.5)- not a good first half at all, lost the ball frequently, couldn't get around his man, took a while for he and sissoko to get used to each other. Second half was back to his own form. running around players, got teh assist on Larrondo's goal
Sissoko(6)- horrible first half hour or so, shanked a shot wide, couldn't pass, couldn't do much of anything. started to sort it out before the half, got a nice shot on goal at the start of the seond half. Really started to mesh with the midfield in the second half as well. subbed late for migliaccio for defensive purposes ; Migliaccio(6) - he's our defensive closer, comes in and shuts down matches.
Pizarro(7)- bad give away early was his only mistake of the match. masterful in possession, a couple of nice long passes that nearly led to goals and a sublime penalty kick for the first goal. He's still the man.
Valero(6)- not a great first half, got better in the second, although he has playe better for us. still an integral part of the team.
Pasqual(6)- only 1 for 6 on his crosses, which is actually a lot better percentage than normal, and played hard on defense. got a yellow an will miss the next match.
Aquilani(5)- played out of position and looked it early. settled down and began to play better, got a nice pass from Pizarro and got it on net, although it was a weak shot. Came out for Ljajic; Ljajic(7)- ljajic came in and made an immediate difference in attack. Dribbled into the box and caused the penalty for the first goal. lots of nice runs going down the stretch although they were followed by a couple of rash shots. good match for Adem
El Hamdaoui(5)- was he even on the pitch? no factor what so ever. granted he's coming off an injury, but this was a chance for him to show what he's got and he was no where to be found. subbed for Larrondo ; Larrondo(6.5)- got fiorentina's first goal that wasn't on a penalty in about 180 minutes, the last one a Juan Cuadrado shot At Cagliari and it was a laser that the goalie had no chance on. If Jovetic can't go next week, Marcelo might have earned himself a start.


Montella(7)- managed to keep the team grounded, even in the face of a lot of adversity. Probably fielded the best squad he could, even though the team was shaky in the first half, but it did show signs of getting better before the half. After halftime, it was a different squad and both of his first two subs contributed dierectly to scores. Migliaccio also helped out securing the win.

ref

Romeo(6)- Probably one of the better performaces I've seen by an Italian ref this year. All the talk and stories about the first penalty being "contentious" or "controversial" are garbage. the man had his arm up, hit the ball more than once and never tried to get his arm out of the way. it's a penalty nine times out of ten. The yellow card that came with the hand ball was harsh and probably uncalled for, but Denis' red card was spot on.

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 *, red cards #)

Pizarro (13)
Cuadrado (10)
Roncaglia (9)
Rodriguez (8)
Aquilani (5)
Migliaccio (4)
Pasqual (4) * - misses next match
Valero (4)
Jovetic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Savic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Tomovic (3) - and one game suspension on the next card.
Ljajic (2)
Toni (2)
Fernandez (1)
Larrando(1) *
Romulo (1)
Sissoko(1) *
Viviano(1)

Looking Ahead

Alessio Cerci, Mario Santana and the rest of the other squad from Turin come to the Franchi next week. Prior to Sunday's matches, Torino is 9 points above relegation, but they host AS Roma and a result will be hard to get. Torino have only 2 wins on the road, but they have managed 9 draws, so Fiorentina can't take them lightly. Tomovic will be back and there's a small chance Jovetic might be as well, but Fior will be without Pasqual and Savic. Three points is a must if La Viola wants to stay in the race.

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

standings
Juventus 74
Napoli 63
Milan 59
Fiorentina 55
Lazio 51
Roma 51
Inter 50
Udinese 48
Catania 47


schedules
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
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


Lazio
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

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

Inter
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

Udinese
Saturday, Apr 20 2:45 ET Udinese v Lazio
Saturday, Apr 27 12:00 ET Cagliari v Udinese
Sunday, May 5 6:30 ET Udinese v Sampdoria
Wednesday, May 8 2:45 ET Palermo v Udinese
Sunday, May 12 9:00 ET Udinese v Atalanta
Sunday, May 19 2:45 ET Internazionale v Udinese


Catania
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

Quotes

Montella:

"We are targeting Europe. This victory gives us confidence and belief. I would not consider the Europa League to be a consolation prize at all, but seeing as we are here, I say Forza Napoli."

"We weren’t moving fluidly enough in the first half, as the passing was predictable and Atalanta were doubling up on the flanks to stop us keeping possession in midfield."

"Once we returned to our preferred system, which sadly meant taking off Alberto Aquilani, we felt more at ease. Adem Ljajic had a decisive impact on the game, but he could’ve been sharper and played better in certain situations."

"Mounir El Hamdaoui had to adapt to a style of play that was unusual for him, much like Aquilani, and paid the price for that emergency situation. Marcelo Larrondo scored a great goal and I knew he had quality, he just needs to believe in himself and be more consistent."

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