Today in Florence Fiorentina defeated Lazio 1-0, earning the Tuscan club another three points and another two weeks (at least) in 4th place in Series A, as they remain four points above rivals AC Milan.
Unfortunately, because of my busy Easter-weekend schedule (as well as an uncooperative computer) I was unable to see any of the match. Thus this summary will be brief. Reports indicate that Lazio played the match very close to the vest; this was backed up by ESPN’s match tracker, which indicated Fiorentina took seven shots on goal in the first half to Lazio’s one. For all of the Viola’s relentless attacking, however, both teams went into the half drawn at nil. In the second, it was substitute Giampaolo Pazzini who scored the goal for Fiorentina off of a nice feed from Fabio Liverani. Lazio was badly hampered by losing Massimo Mutarelli to two yellow cards in the space of three minutes at the end of the first, but never really seemed anxious to attack Fiorentina’s goal. For an actual summary of the match by someone who, you know, actually saw it, please go here.
The win, as I said, keeps Fiorentina in 4th (and in that “worth-its-weight-in-gold” Champions League spot) for the foreseeable future. AC Milan also won, off a Pato goal. Milan seems to be replicating the results of Fiorentina lately, which is fine with me. If they keep this up the Viola can simply hang onto their 4th spot until the season ends as Milan matches them in wins, losses, and draws.
Also, I have to say again how happy I am for Pazzini, who has always been one of my favourites. The first time I saw him live was at the Artemio Franchi in November of 2006. He came in as a late substitute in a match that had the Viola tied 1-1 with Atalanta. He promptly scored two goals (one in extra time) that left me exultant. Pazzini has often been accused of underachievement and overly theatrical behavior (charges he may have been guilty of in the past) but in the second half of this season he has been very fine and has undoubtedly matured. I’m pleased for him.
Anyway, we now seem to be facing an incredibly long dry spell without Fiorentina football. Between the UEFA Cup and midweek league matches, it seemed as if the Viola were playing every weekend as well as once every midweek. We now have a whole week before the club takes the field (next Sunday) vs. Udinese, and in that time the club can get some much-needed time to relax and heal, satisfied with the good work they did today.
I will probably be back Monday afternoon with a news & notes column. In the meantime, I do hope you all have a happy and safe holiday, hopefully made a little happier with today’s win.