Well, thank god the games are back. Fiorentina had to earn this one from their trip to the Tardini in Parma, but the boys came through. It will be a satisfying win for Frey, Mutu and Prandelli considering their time spent at Parma FC. Onto the game.
The game began with wide-open attacking by both teams. Fiorentina had more of the possession and quality scoring chances, but Parma regularly threatened even though my boy Reginaldo couldn't quite get a shot off, and the one time he did it was well off target. Frey only had to make one save in the first half. Fiorentina got one right before the half via a header from Mutu off of a corner kick, and Bucci could do nothing as it took a deflection on the way into the back of the net. I think the one goal advantage was probably slightly flattering to Fiorentina at that point, especially considering Parma rang one off of the base of the post, but they played a pretty good half.
Fiorentina began the second half well, quickly advancing the ball on counter attacks with their trademark short passing and creative runs. However, they could not capitalize on any of the build up play and never really threatened Bucci. Parma equalized off of a free kick. Coly, who was the most impressive player for Parma for his excellent defending of Mutu and Vieri all day, rose well and sent a firm header to Frey's right. Frey would probably like that one back, as he got his fingertips to the header but could not keep it out of the back of the net.
Subsequently, just as I was cursing Prandelli for leaving a clearly tiring Bobo on the pitch, he executed a turn at the top of the 18 yard box, and as he moved past Morrone, the Parma defender left his leg out. It was not enough to take Bobo to the ground, but he felt the contact and "made a meal of it", earning a penalty that Mutu slotted home calmly. I'm not sure if it is accurate to say that Mutu was classy and did not celebrate his goals in front of the Parma fans, because he certainly didn't make a big deal out of them. But he was smirking and generally acting like the cocky player we know him to be. Call it a push - at least he didn't rub it in.
Parma tried to push forward in the last 10 minutes to find an equalizer, but never looked like scoring one. Corradi had a header go wide, but he was offside anyway. Vieri almost found a late goal after some sweet control of a long ball in the box, but couldn't squeeze his shot past Bucci from a tight angle. 2-1 to the Viola and a key win as all of the top 4 had emerged victorious (Hapless Cagliari couldn't even score a goal against Udinese despite being up a man for over 60 minutes. Oh, and they conceded one too. Dagger.)
Fiorentina have to be happy with the win as this is a difficult place for Fiorentina to play. Vieri got several shots on goal and provided some quality link up play. Mutu and Montolivo were great going forward and attacking players. Donadel was his usual solid self in defense, and even let a couple of shots fly with his cannon of a right leg (didn't get any on target). Frey looked like he's not quite 100% but he moved well and in truth did not have to make many saves.
I'll be updating more regularly - sorry for the gap in the posts. A belated happy new year to everyone. I'll check back to post a link to the match highlights once they become available.