Fiorentina - Apollon Limassol: 7-0

I'll miss these classic numbers. Photo credit - Claudio Villa

The Europa League hopefuls from Cyprus received a sound beating thanks to Fiorentina's promising depth in attack.

While the pitch may have been waterlogged and the limbs may have been tired, the boys in purple were untroubled by their Mediterranean visitors, beating them comfortably thanks to 5 second half goals. Giuseppe Rossi and youngster Ryder Matos both bagged braces to kill the resistance of an organized visiting team.

Fiorentina opened the match as they have very often since last April, with early opportunism. Mario Gomez found the net for the third time in two matches with a classic low finish after a bouncing run inside the box, and Pasqual also added to his personal summer tally by thumping home from close range after the ball fell to his feet in the Apollon Limassol box.

But after the initial firepower, the Fiorentina cynicism stalled a bit, and while Borja Valero, David Pizarro, and Juan Cuadrado (in remarkably good shape given that he arrived in the mountains late) were their impressive selves, they were unable to provide Gomez with good service. Iakovenko, fielded in the place of an out-of-condition Adem Ljajic, worked hard but was unable to be as incisive as he had been in the more forward role he enjoyed the previous two games. The Limassol team defended itself very well and neutralized spaces, while the game turned a little chippy until halftime.

With the full-team changeover Fiorentina found their groove again and an electric Matos, on the verge of an alleged loan deal to Siena, pulled the Limassol defenders laterally and finished confidently, aided by great vertical work by Joaquin and Marcos Alonso, who exposed one-on-one mismatches on their respective wings. Late in the second half the Limassol attack mustered a shot on goal, but Neto parried it easily over the bar before youth team keeper Luca Lezzerini was given a couple minutes of confidence. The peach of the match was the 5-0, sealed by the continually impressive Giuseppe Rossi. He collected a pass from Vecino on the right, turned elegantly into a bit of space ahead of his defender 25 yards out, and hit a majestic curling ball perfectly into the top right corner. Even immediately after the most physically intensive part of summer training, this group of players is capable of some truly special moments of play.

Now the team can look ahead to one final match at Moena - against a better opponent, Gaziantepspor - before the two big friendlies of the summer in preparation for the proper beginning of the season. Even late arrivals such as Alberto Aquilani and Matias Fernandez are being fully integrated into the training, and we can expect them (as well as Josep Ilicic) to make their season debuts next week against the Turkish team. The games of importance are approaching quickly, and the calendar will be announced on Monday, but results like this one are keeping fan enthusiasm (and the team) sky high in the high altitude.

Highlights:


Summer Calendar:

Monday, July 29th - Serie A Fixtures Announced

Saturday, August 3rd, 17:30 - Gaziantepspor

Thursday, August 8th, 21:00 - @ Villareal

Friday, August 9th - Europa League Qualifying Draw Announced

Sunday, August 11th, Time TBA - @ Sporting Lisbon

Thursday, August 22nd Time TBA - Europe League Qualifier

Saturday, August 24th - Serie A Begins

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