Today in beautiful Florence the Viola won the first leg of their Champions League qualifier vs. Slavia Prague, thus putting them in excellent position to to win the tie with a solid performance next week, which would allow the club to advance to the lucrative and exciting group stages of the contest. Adrian Mutu scored early (on an apparently sublime free kick), Alberto Gilardino scored late, and generally Fiorentina dominated the match. By all accounts the new guys played well, the returning players seemed in their groove, and the fearsome front line of Gila and Mutu justified the attention they generated over the summer.
Writing match recaps is one of the things about this job that I most enjoy; I cannot imagine a better Sunday afternoon, for example, that intently watching a Fiorentina match and then writing about the experience afterwards. That’s why I am so frustrated to report that I essentially missed today’s game, yet another summer match I did not see. For one thing, I was at work, and could not really focus on the match even if I had a good feed. (Damn you, gainful employment!) But I had another day of getting lousy streams of the match, either not getting it at all or getting coverage so choppy that it was virtually unwatchable. I hope things improve, and improve rapidly, in that department. If I miss next week’s return match I think I might resort to the demon liquor again.
So, in essence, I would ask you to leave your impressions of the match in the comment section. I would love to hear from those of you who saw that match. Here are some things I’m curious about:
1). How did the team do as a whole? Did they move the ball well? Defend well? How did midfield link up with the attackers?
2). How did the new guys (Melo, Vargas, Gila, etc) do? Obviously Gila scored and Melo did well by all match reports I’ve read, but what was your impression?
3). what formation did the Great man employ? Do you think it was situational (just for this game) or might it be something he could stick with for a while?
Let me know your thoughts.
Obviously the Viola are in fine shape. They still of course have to travel to Prague, and anything can happen, but if they play as they are capable they should be able to punch their ticket to the Champions League Group Stage.
Two final things: first, Alessio, a frequent and generous contributor to this page, left a list of links to highlights of the match in the comment board of the preview. I am posting these for reader’s benefit with thanks to Alessio. Just paste them in your browser to check them out.
Kuzmanovic shot http://rapidshare.com/files/136851551/kuzm…c_shot.avi.html
Santana & Gila Skills http://rapidshare.com/files/136852016/Sant…Skiils.avi.html
Gila Chance http://rapidshare.com/files/136852862/Gila_Chance.avi.html
Gila Chance 2 http://rapidshare.com/files/136853543/Gila_Chance_2.avi.html
All clips from 1st half in one file- http://rapidshare.com/files/136858037/1st_…1_file.zip.html
Vargas Shot http://rapidshare.com/files/136859093/Vargas_Shot.avi.html
Mutu corner http://rapidshare.com/files/136864280/Mutu_corner.avi.html
Finally, a number of readers have pointed out this charming story of our man Monto watching the match in China at 2AM. I pass it along to you so we can all continue to adore our favorite young midfielder.
That’s all for now; take care everyone, and Forza Viola! One step closer to the Champions League!