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Fior 0-0 AC Milan; And It's Gonna Get Better

Delio Rossi and the Curva salute each other and the genesis of the Rossi Era after a 0-0 tie.

Fiorentina, in new coach Delio Rossi's first match at the helm, without 4 starters, Stevan Jovetic, Juan Manuel Vargas, Mattia Cassani and Cesare Natali, managed to scratch and claw out a much deserved and needed scoreless tie against defending Serie A champs AC Milan at crowded Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The tie temporarily moves Fiorentina from 13th to 10th place, with 13 pts. Milan stays at 3rd. The clean sheet is the 6th of the season. Titan Zlatan Ibrahimovic was held to 4 shots, none of them on.

Once again, officiating was deplorable, handballs not called, a Milan goal taken away for an incorrect offside call, Silva could've been given a penalty kick, but got a foul instead. Mazzoleni and his crew need to do much better.

Fiorentina fans will be looking for a much different road attitude next week and with the expected return of Jovetic and Vargas will be hoping for another result.

Rossi rolled a makeshift lineup out due to injuries and suspension, a 4-3-1-2 with Artur Boruc in goal as always, Captain Gamberini partnered with 18 yr old Serbian newcomer Matija Nastasic in the central defense, Manuel Pasqual and Lorenzo Di Silvestri played left and right back, respectively.

Riccardo Montolivo sat in the defensive central midfield, with Gianni Munari, in for Vargas, and Valon Behrami flanked left and right. Andrea Lazzari covered for Jovetic behind Alberto Gilardino and Alessio Cerci.

The first half was all Rossoneri as Milan roared out to 73% possession, out-shooting Fior 6-2 and having the only shot on, although there were no real chances for either side.

Rossi's first change as manager came at the start of the second half as Santiago Silva came on for a largely ineffective Cerci, but it wasn't until Houssine Kharja came on for Munari that La Viola started to take some back against the tiring Milanistas. Milan responded with Pato and Emanuelson and managed to make things nervous, but big Artur Boruc stood tall and preserved the result.

Report Cards
Boruc - one minor save in the first half, three HUGE saves to keep a clean sheet and preserve the point in the second. 7
Gamberini - let Seedorf through on the goal called back, and had some rough early moments with his new partner, but settled down nicely. 6
Nastasic - some early jitters and one scary header in the box late, but settled down and played strong. saved the game with a perfect tackle on Pato in the box. 6.5
Pasqual - has had better matches with his crosses, although one almost went in. held Abate off most of the match. 6
LDS - had some nice moments forward and is getting better on defense. 6
Behrami - the workhorse, the only player doing much of anything first half, got a yellow, 7
Montolivo - horrible first half, but seemed to match up better with Kharja than Munari. couple of stupid shots from too far away, but had some nice ball control moments as well 5.5
Munari - awkward early, but draped himself on Seedork and took Clarence out of the equation for much of the match. 5 subbed for Kharja, who fit in nicely and seemed to spark a final charge 6
Lazzari - really bad first half, and just a bit better in the second, 5.5
Cerci - out of position and looked it, subbed at halftime. maybe the return of Jovetic can help, if not, put the hair back up 5; Silva - his work ethic seemed to infuse the rest of the squad. looked to me to have been pulled down in the box, but got a foul. 6
Gilardino - was out on an island much of the match, jojo's return should help him. 5

Rossi - bad first half for the squad, but they held and got into the locker room. Halftime adjustments including substitutions made a huge difference, but most of all, Mr Rossi has brought hope back to the Franchi 7

Looking Ahead
TIM Cup match against Empoli at the Franchi on Thursday, seven Primavera players are practicing with the senior squad for this match.

As for Serie A, Sunday Morning in Palermo, what I like to call Pastel Darby, but what usually turns into the running of the trolls. Palermo are in 5th place, but travel to Torino for a match with Juventus tomorrow.

After the Sicily trip, matches with Roma and at Inter loom.
Atalanta and an away match at Siena will see La Viola into the winter break.