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Champions League!

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Yesterday in an odd, almost unsettling game under a warm Italian sun, Fiorentina drew a gutsy Lecce squad 1-1 to secure fourth place in Series A, which guaranteed that that the Viola would have the opportunity to play Champions League football next season. This is now the second year in a row the team has qualified for the CL, and would have been the third in a row if not for the points penalty a few seasons back.

The situation with the club is still a bit up in the air. By holding off an impressive Genoa club who never seemed to quit, we have secured fourth place in the league. Fourth means we can get to the Champions League via a play-in match vs. another CL contender. That game could be played against any number of teams. Of course there is still one match left in the season to play (against the mighty David Beckhams) and depending on the results the Viola could actually finish third, which would mean the boys would not have to play the always nerve-wracking play-in match in order to qualify for the CL. From what I understand, in order to finish third we must either beat the Beckhams while Newcastle loses or simply beat the Beckhams by two goals. Third place would be infinitely preferable to fourth because it eliminates the play-in and would also make our planning that much more certain over the summer since we could be surer of where our finances stand. So all eyes will surly be on beautiful Florence this Sunday.

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Yesterday’s match, which was played in very warm conditions, was an odd and almost anticlimaticl way to qualify for the Champions league. The boys played aggressively and controlled much of possession, but their finishing was way off. I found my criticism abounded on a day I expected to be joyous. I didn’t think Gila tracked back enough to help, as if he was desperately searching for his 20th league goal. My precious attacked unrelentlessly, as always, but didn’t seem to see the field as he usually does. Semioli was always a step slow. Melo was, as always, a force in the midfield, but continues to show appalling judgment. If he continues like this, his value becomes more and more in question. Lecce, not a team of great talent, asked serious and at times unanswered questions of our defense. The team was saved, again and again, by Bassy Frey.

Martin Jorgensen (who apparently reminds some of our loyal readers of a hedgehog) saved our bacon at the death, prompting a happy pig-pile of our players, but it was not the match expected of a Champions League quality-team vs. a club about to be relegated. I think we dodged a bullet on that one.

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Regardless, we all now look forward to the Milan match. We all know this one could go either way. Milan, in spite of their recent troubles, are a talented (if old) team, and it should be remembered that this should be a very emotional day for the club. Keep in mind, this will be the last match for their greatest-ever player, David Beckham, FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON. I don’t know what Milan fans will do without seeing that smug little prick’s shit-eating grin for the whole summer.

Also, one of their defenders is apparently retiring.

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We’ll be back later in the week as we move closer to this pivotal last-match of the season. We will have to do so without Melo and probably Mutu. It will be a thriller, I hope, and one that deserves to end this magnificent season in Florence.

That’s all I‘ve got for now. I’ve been swamped with work, which explains both the lateness and the length of this post. But I do hope all of you are well, and you are all enjoying the idea of our favorite club spending yet another year in Europe.

Forza Viola!