Sky Blue Victory, Napoli 0-1 Fiorentina

A particularly good day for La Viola as chasing teams Inter and Parma were held up at 47 points while Fiorentina caught Third Napoli by surprise twice in a vintage tactical Serie A match to win 1-0 in the Sao Paolo.

The visiting team in purple started the match with 20 tired legs after Europa League exit to Juventus in addition to new born purple star Norberto Neto. In the back line, Montella choose Manuel Pasqual, Stefan Savic, Gonzalo Rudriguez and Facundo Roncaglia from left to right in a 4-3-3 formation. The middle was made of Borja Valero, Alberto Aquilani and surprise starter Bakic. Joaquin comes back to the starting XI as a right winger opposite to Juan Cuadrado as a left winger while Mario Gomez was positioned in the middle.

Home team Napoli lead by Rafa Benitez had full strength squad except for Maggio. The starting XI were Reina on goal, Reveillere, Henrique, Albiol and Ghoulam in defense, Callejon, Jorginho, Hamsik, Inler and Insigne in the middle, Higuain in front. Rafa made it clear before the match that he is waiting for Roma slip up in order to reach second place and a direct qualification to the Champions' League group stage.

In this review, I am going to talk about the match between Montella and Benitez and how their choices made the difference. In terms of players, Neto was Man of the Match by miles performing absolutely amazing saves throughout the first half. Both coaches had in mind to control the match possession. Neither were successful for about 25 minutes until Napoli started to get a grip on the tempo. Fiorentina, in a purely tactical move, switched to long balls whenever the ball was intercepted by Gonzalo and Aquilani towards Gomez and the wingers winning a few free kicks outside Napoli box. 12 minutes later, a break for Fiorentina was almost translated into a goal by none other than Bakic who was one step away from going one on one against Reina. Ghoulam made the tackle and from the referee point of view, it was a last man before the goal foul and Ghoulam was sent off with a straight red.

Napoli tried to push after going down to 10 men as if they were trying to take the lead before Rafa changes his tactics after Half Time. 45 minutes were over and Montella made his first substitution; Ilicic for Bakic forcing Aquilani to become the only deep midfielder. On the opposite side, Benitez chose to go for defense, hold on to the point while trying to score on the counter. Both half time moves worked into Napoli's good fortunes because Rafa made sure La Viola heart "Borja Valero" was not beating and all links to it were broken. Ilicic injection on that note made very little impact and caused Fiorentina to lose possession on numerous occasions. With 20 minutes left on the clock, Montella made the big switch by taking Roncaglia out for Vargas who in turn switched places with Cuadrado.

One minute after, it looked like the tides have turned against Fiorentina in scene every Viola has now become accustomed to; Gomez looked hurt and had to be substituted for Matri. It took little time for Rafa to react subbing out tired Insigne for Mertens who scored the winning goal at the Franchi. The following 10 minutes Fiorentina fans regained hope as the tactical changes started to show on the field with Joaquin with more free space because of Cuadrado's forward runs behind him and winning a few corners as a result of Vargas dangerous crosses. Could Gomez score in this situation is yet to be seen in a chapter where Fiorentina are lucky enough to not have their main target man injured just when chances started to happen but Matri certainly could not score on two golden opportunities. Rafa and in with all the credit he deserves was almost rewarded when Mertens made a run much similar to his goal at the Franchi but with no assistance to get through easier by a 1-2 move; Savic or should I say much improved Savic made a clean great tackle eliminating the danger and Mertens in the process who landed wrongly on his foot side giving way to Pandev.

Both coaches were out of moves to make and Napoli was extra minutes away from making the headlines by holding Fiorentina to a draw with a man down but Matri could not wait to redeem himself and pulled Reina away from his goal then passed back to El Capitano who crossed right when it counted assisting clear headed Joaquin in tapping the ball with his head onto the empty net. The match ended a few minutes later with a purple win in a sky blue day for Florence.

Report Cards

POSITION

NAME

RATING

REMARKS

GK

Neto

8.5

Man of the Match

DR

Roncaglia

6.0

Was able to hold insigne except for a few times of which he was lucky the guy was very tired after the match with Porto.

DC

Savic

7.5

Outplayed Higuain the whole match frustrating him to no end

DC

Gonzalo

7.0

I always feel like saying as solid as ever. Did not deserve the yellow on that Napoli dive

DL

Pasqual

6.0

Was going to give him a 5 for obvious reasons. The extra point is for the assist.

MC

Aquilani

7.0

Accurate long passes, no defensive issues, no bad tackles. This was a good day for Aquaman

MCL

Valero

6.0

Invisible all match, a victim of the tactical battle.

MCR

Bakic

6.0

Gets a 6 for getting a red on Ghoulam

WL

Cuadrado

7.0

Was a great tactical tool in Montella's brilliant changes among other great sparks here and there

WR

Joaquin

8.0

Once free, he managed to get passed his defender many times, created a golden chance for Matri and scored the winning goal

F

Gomez

6.0

Was not able to do anything, cant give him a 5 because he probably would have gotten Fiorentina 3-0 up but then again who knows

SUB1-MCR

Ilicic

6.0

Didn't do much but I decided none gets less than a 6 in this match

SUB2-F

Vargas

6.5

His crosses impacted the game winning many corners after he came to the field

SUB3-DC

Roncaglia

6.5

Held insigne on the right all the time except for one time but he had Neto to save him. Not dangerous in the attack

Coach

Montella

9.0

I wonder what he could have done with the third substitution if Gomez did not have to leave

Referee

Tagliavento

6.5

Not so bad for an Italian ref. A wrong yellow on Gonzo but some might also a harsh red on Ghoulam

Quotes

Benitez

"I have to compliment my players on the way they expressed themselves in this match,"

"We did very well and had many scoring opportunities, as even down to 10 we wanted to score. It's a shame it went like this, but the players gave their all.

"We were still better with 10 men than Fiorentina. That's why I didn't make many changes. They put Juan Cuadrado on the right and so I adjusted some things to have more freshness at the back.

"I don't talk about referees, so it's down to you to comment and nothing changes anyway. Now I am focused on the next game.

"I think it is bad luck that we aren't taking our chances at the moment, as we have quality and Fiorentina's goalkeeper did well tonight.

"I continue to have faith and am still targeting Roma in second place. Of course it's a concern the gap has opened up to six points, but we have to do our duty and see what happens. When we play like this, we have to win."

Montella

"In the first half we started well, then Napoli put us under pressure with their forwards," Montella told Sky Sport Italia.

"The red card made things easier for us, but it was a situation that came about naturally during the game. It was tough, as Napoli didn't play the way I expected them to, with many men behind the ball.

"It was open to any result and we could even have lost, though it would've been a real blow. I tried to make the most of the flanks, as I knew Napoli had trouble in that zone of the pitch. It paid off, as Josip Ilicic also created problems between the lines."

"This is an extremely positive day for us," conceded Montella. "Our duty is to give our all, to keep those behind us further away and close up on those ahead of us. It's our duty to believe in third."

Hi Lights

Statistics

Napoli

VS

Fiorentina

40%

Possession

60%

12 (5)

Shots (On Target)

13 (4)

5

Corners

4

14

Fouls committed

10

1

Yellow Cards

1

1

Red Cards

0

Serie A Goals

Name

Goals

Rossi

14

Cuadrado

5

Valero

5

Aquilani

4

Vargas

4

Fernandez

3

Gomez

3

Matri

3

Ilicic

2

Gonzalo

2

Joaquin

2

Pizarro

1

Wolski

1

Serie A card accumulation

Name

YELLOW CARDS

SUSPENSIONS

Gonzalo

11

(Booked this Match)

Aquilani

7

-

Cuadrado

6

-

Ambrosini

5

-

Pizarro

4

-

Tomovic

4

-

Valero

4

-

Compper

3

Misses match on next yellow

Pasqual

3

Misses match on next yellow

Savic

3

Misses match on next yellow

Diakite

2

-

Matos

2

-

Neto

2

-

Fernandez

1

-

Gomez

1

-

Ilicic

1

-

Rebic

1

-

Rossi

1

-

Wolski

1

-

What is next?

Nine matches to go and the next one is against struggling Milan at the Franchi. Do not forget, the match against Milan is mid-week.

Date

Competition

Time(GMT)

Home

Away

26 Mar 14

Serie A

19:45

Fiorentina

Milan

30 Mar 14

Serie A

13:00

Sampdoria

Fiorentina

06 Apr 14

Serie A

18:45

Fiorentina

Udinese

14 Apr 14

Serie A

17:00

Verona

Fiorentina

19 Apr 14

Serie A

19:00

Fiorentina

Roma

27 Apr 14

Serie A

13:00

Bologna

Fiorentina

04 May 14

Serie A

13:00

Fiorentina

Sassuolo

07 May 14

Coppa Final

TBA

Fiorentina

Napoli

11 May 14

Serie A

13:00

Livorno

Fiorentina

18 May 14

Serie A

13:00

Fiorentina

Torino

Forza Viola!

In This Article

Teams
Players
X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Viola Nation

You must be a member of Viola Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Viola Nation. You should read them.

Join Viola Nation

You must be a member of Viola Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Viola Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker