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Halfway through the CL Group Stage, Things are looking good for the Viola

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I exchanged emails with Ted earlier, and it turns out that neither of us were able to see much of the match yesterday, so this recap will have to be brief. I did see the highlights last night on FSC, so I've seen all of the goals. In a very entertaining and open match, Fiorentina defeated the host Hungarians of Debrecen by a 4-3 margin. Here's the Football Italia recap.

Group Standings:

Lyon: 9 points, +6
Viola: 6 points, +2
Scousers: 3 points, -2
Debrecen, 0 points, -6

Things are looking very good for our boys at this point. The last 3 matches, in order, are Debrecen at home, Lyon at home and then away to the Scousers. Wins in the next 2 matches would certainly see Fiorentina through to the knock-out phase of the competition, but the most obvious priority at this point has to be beating Debrecen again at home. Let's face it, they have a few decent players, but they can't hang with Fiorentina when the Viola are playing anything like thier best game.

Negatives from yesterday:

Up to this point, Fiorentina had neither been scoring nor conceding many goals, no matter what the competition. Debrecen saw this match as an opportunity to go for a win, and they pushed men forward right from the start. It was not ideal to give up 3, though I'm really more angry about the first and the last goals. The second, while Comotto and one other Viola player could have been tighter to that guy, was simply a tremendous shot. Tip your cap to him and move on. But the first and third resulted from NO marking on the first and lax marking on the 3rd, from a set piece towards the end of the match. Concentration needs to remain strong at that point to ensure that no points are given away late in the match.

Positives:

4 goals. 3 points. 2 for Mutu. 1 road win in the Champions League. 0 minutes played so Jo-Jo will be fresh for the Napoli match. Also, Bassy was sharp and kept the boys in the match as usual. Sharper than Iker Casillas and Dida from what I hear. I'll take it.

Also, I've been thinking this for awhile, but haven't said it, but Dainelli has been playing pretty well. I'm concerned because in the linked recap it mentioned that he left in the 55th minute with a fitness issue. If he can stay relatively healthy and Prandelli only uses him for 1 match a week, I think he can be pretty effective. Between Natali (didn't see him play at all yesterday), Kroldrup and the baby Argentine Christmas present who arrives in January, hopefully Cesare can get some results and some solidity at the back.

Plus, Santana had a chance to score and he didn't mess it up, so nice work on that one Mario! Still, please stay late after practice and work on your shooting.

Also, this is a game that Fiorentina would have lost or drawn last year. I'm not sure if what has been happening is down to experience, improved confidence, the emergence of Jo-Jo, the addition of the level-headed Zanetti instead of the batshit insane Melo, or what, but I do like it. Cesare seems to think that the team is getting its swag right. I'll agree with the Great Man.

Looking Ahead:

The matches start coming up quick for the Viola now, with 5 more before the next international break. Sunday sees the boys home to Napoli, next Wednesday is away to Genoa, 11/1 will be home to Catania, 11/4 Debrecen come to Firenze and then 11/8 is away to Udinese. Cesare will have to be smart about keeping his players fresh, but there should be plenty for us to talk about.

More Friday about the Napoli match. Until then.