Taking Care Of Business; Sampdoria 0-3 Fiorentina

Marco Luzzani

Needing a road win to keep control of 4th place and put pressure on third place AC Milan, Fiorentina did the job...

Fiorentina came into Genoa today and put out a workman-like effort, beating Sampdoria 3-0 and cementing 4th place for another week and gave themselves a chance for third place, depending on the result of the late match between AC Milan and Catania.

Juan Cuadrado, Adem Ljajic and Alberto Aquilani all added to their tallies to lead La Viola to victory, while Sampdoria's Daniele Gastaldello was thrown out of the match for a straight red card on a from-behind tackle on Ljajic.

The win had to be especially pleasant for Ljajic as it happened in front of former Fiorentina coach Delio Rossi, with whom he had had a much publicized squabble last season, resulting in Rossi's firing. As far as i could tell, both parties handled the event appropriately, without any embarrassments.

Recap

Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella once again had to juggle his 4-3-3 formation, as Facundo Roncaglia was out for an injury, but had Stevan Jovetic back. He lined up Nenad Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Stefan Savic, back from suspension and Manuel Pasqual in front of goalie Emiliano Viviano, with a now standard midfield of Aquilani, David Pizarro and Borja Valero and forwards Cuadrado, Jovetic and Ljajic.

Sampdoria coach Delio Rossi countered with a 4-4-2 with Shkodran Mustafi, Daniele Gastaldello, Angelo Palombo, who had been heavily linked to Fiorentina in the off season, and Gaetano Berardi in front of goalie Sergio Romero.

Former Viola player Lorenzo De Silvestri, Pedro Mba Obiang, Andrea Poli and Marcelo Estigarribia filled out the midfield, while Gianluca Sansone and Maxi Lopez played up front.

The match started out very much in Sampdoria's favor, as Fiorentina came out a bit listless and on their back feet and, accordingly, Sampdoria got off the first shot, a blocked attempt by Poli, while Pizarro countered a few minutes later with a shot that was saved.

Over the next ten minutes, there was two more shots for the home team, but Fiorentina began to impose their will on the match and started to gain the bulk of possession and push forward.

Ljajic got off a shot, but it was wide and Cuadrado attempted another chip shot, but Romero had long enough arms to knock it over.

Di Silvestri came back with a header, but Fiorentina countered with two shots of their own, from Jovetic and Cuadrado and then, like a lightning bolt, Cuadrado shot from deep out side the box and put it past Romero for the matches first tally.

With that score, Fiorentina got the bit in their teeth and never looked back as both Ljajic and Pizarro got off shots, but it was Ljajic to make the next big play as a mis-played ball dropped to his feet in the box and he dribbled sideways past two defenders and slashed the ball into the corner of the net for the second goal a few minutes before

The half ended 2-0, with Fiorentina owning 56% of the possession, out shooting Sampdoria 12 to 5, with 6 of those shots on goal and none on goal for Sampdoria.

The second half got under way and play was fairly even as the teams exchanged shot attempts for the first half an hour, but the only play that was even close to a chance was a ball from a corner that went off Di Silvestri's arm straight to Viviano. Ref Rizzoli called play on, but had the ball gone in the net, it clearly would've been called back for a handball.

Then Ljajic made his second contribution, a great drive down the baseline with a pass to Aquilani standing in front of the net for the third goal and it was all but over.

Ljajic was involved in play later as he was tackled from behind, resulting in a red card for Sampdoria and all that remained was to see the time run off on the clock.

The win put Fiorentina into third place, although Milan still have a match to play later and a chance to regain the place.

Report Cards

Viviano(6)- only called on for two saves today, one of which was off Di Silvestri's arm and would've been called for handball had Viviano not made the save.was a spectator for most of the match. His biggest involvement was stepping in and towering over Eder during the chippy moment towards the end. Eder wisely backed off.
Tomovic(6.5)- played very well out right, both going forward and in back. nice to have a clean sheet.
Rodriguez(6)- nice match, clean sheet, loses a half a pt for a yellow card, but no real worries on that front, he's got three to go to miss another match with only 4 matches to go.
Savic(6)- another fine match for a Fior defender, got a late yellow, which must have been for saying something as he did nothing in the run of play. If it was something verbal and not just Rizzoli evening things out, it was silly as he misses the Roma match.
Pasqual(6)- The emergence of Ljajic has made Pasqual play more within his role, so he's playing more defense and less as a psuedo-forward. Only 5 crossing attempts today, and, of course, only 1 successful. LOL
Aquilani(6.5)- Dangerous all match, called for a penalty early as he appeared to be dragged down and was right in front of the net for Ljajic to find for the third goal. subbed late for sissoko, perhaps to prevent a second yellow; Sissoko(NA)- Gave up a dangerous free kick, however
Pizarro(7)- so solid on the ball. Perhaps a bit too committed to the long ball early, but got the team settled down, established possession and took over the match.
Valero(6.5)- little off early, as Sampdoria came ot and owned the first part of the match. Gave up a ball that nearly turned into a Samp 1 on 1, but recovered. settled down later and got into the match.
Cuadrado(7)- Nearly chipped in another goal and then got the first one from long distance. Subbed out for Romulo to prevent a yellow card suspension and perhap, to keep him fresh for next week; romulo(NA)- never really figured in the play.
Jovetic(5.5)- fairly unremarkable game for Jojo, but he was coming off an injury. Will need more against Roma.
Ljajic(7.5)- Really coming into his own. Pressed a bit in the early stages, tried to do too much, but pounced on a turnover and dribbled past two defenders to spear teh ball into the corner of the net. Excellent dribbling along the back line to set up an easy tip in for Aquilani. Subbed late due to injury, but it didn't look too serious ; el hamdaoui(NA)

Montella(7)- Team came out a bit listless at the start, but kicked it into gear and put away Sampdoria for another road win. He avoided the distraction of a big match against Roma coming up and had them focused. A clean sheet on the road is a big victory for the defense as well.

ref
Rizzoli(6)- not really a factor. Called a lot more fouls on Fiorentina early, possibly missed a penalty call as well, and gave a yellow card to Savic that was a bit mystifying, but over all had a pretty good match.

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 (11) - one game suspension on the next card.
Roncaglia (9)
Rodriguez (9) *
Aquilani (6) *
Migliaccio (4)
Pasqual (4)
Savic (4) * - misses next match
Valero (4)
Jovetic (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

The toughest match on the remaining schedule will be on Saturday as AS Roma come to town looking to make a move up and/or cement 5th place. Fiorentina allowed Roma to play their up and down type of style in the previous match and paid a harsh price as Roma scored 4 goals on Fiorentina in a 4-2 win which wasn't really even that close. La Viola will be without Savic, due to yellow card accumulation and probably without Facundo Roncaglia as well. They will need the midfield to take control of the match and hold possession and keep the high flying Roman squad off the board, which won't be an easy feat as they are coming off a 4 goal win against Siena. That match was at home, however, and Roma have only scored 3 goals in their last 3 road matches, so there is some hope. Another item to raise Viola fan's hope is that Fiorentina really weren't playing their best prior to that loss in Rome, as they had been coming off successive 2-2 ties against Torino and Sampdoria rather than the two wins they have in the last two matches now.

Further complicating matters will be a short turn around as Fiorentina will have to go down the road on the following Wednesday for the Tuscan Darby against relegation threatened Siena, never an easy fixture for this Viola squad.


Saturday, May 4 2:45 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 80
Napoli 69
Milan 62
Fiorentina 61
Roma 55
Udinese 54
Inter 53
Lazio 52


schedules
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 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

AS Roma
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

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

Inter
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
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

Quotes

Montella:

"It was the perfect Sunday. I was worried about this game, but the team and fans deserve praise. I also thank my old Sampdoria supporters for the warm welcome.

"I will sit down tonight in a very relaxed manner to watch Milan-Catania and enjoy the game. I don’t know what our chances are of Champions League qualification, but we certainly consolidated fourth place today. Then we’ll see."

"It was not easy for Ljajic, but he showed his maturity and growth both on the field and off. He focused only on playing, we are happy with him and he represents a treasure for the club."

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