It took a lot of running around, but Fiorentina made the most of a long pass from Gonzalo Rodriguez to Manuel Pasqual, which the Captain chipped over a late charging Sebastien Frey for his first goal of the season, getting Coach Vincenzo Montella his first away win and the first Viola win at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in 30 years.
The win puts Fiorentina in sole possession of fifth place, one point behind Lazio and three points ahead of Parma with a home match against eighth place Cagliari on Sunday at the Franchi.
Montella changed up his back line a bit, perhaps because of the short turn around. Facundo Roncaglia was back in his normal position next to Rodriguez after a one game suspension for yellow cards, but Stevan Savic slotted in on the left in place of Nenad Tomovic.
With the return of David Pizzaro, also after a yellow card suspension, in the center of the midfield, Montella reverted to what looks like is going to be his "normal" lineup. Juan Cuadrado, Matias Fernandez, Pizzaro, Borja Valero and Manuel Pasqual behind Adem Ljajic and Stevan Jovetic.
New Genoa Coach Luigi Delneri, in his second match at the helm, fielded a modified 4-4-2, with an attacking and defending midfielder.
In front of former Viola goalie Sebastien Frey, he lined up Mario Sampirisi, Andreas Granqvist, Cesare Bovo and Emiliano Moretti. In the midfield Alexander Merkel played Defensive Midfielder and Andrea Bertolacci filled the Attacking Midfielder duties. Juraj Kucka and Luca Antonelli played right and left midfielders, respectively, in back of Linus Hallenius and Ciro Immobile.
Genoa started out lively enough, getting the first shot of the match, a Kucka shot from outside the box, but Fiorentina quickly began to impose their game on the Grifone.
By the 11th minute, Jovetic drove into the box and was taken down just outside, earning a free kick and a yellow card on Sampirisi. Ljajic took the free kick but sent it straight into the wall.
it only took three minutes more for Fiorentina to get the matches lone goal. Rodriguez launched a ball about 20 yards in front of his own zone to Manuel Pasqual, who had beaten Genoa's offside trap and ran onto the ball before Frey could get to it. He tapped a light lob over the goalie's head and it landed straight in the net.
Kucka came back a few minutes later, but sent the ball over the net, Jovetic answered with a strike at the lower corner, but Frey was up to the task.
After an easy shot on net by Bertolacci was saved by Viviano, Immobile charged the net along the back line, but his cross went all the way across the front of the net without anyone being able to get a foot on it.
After a few more minutes, Cuadrado led a charge down the field and slotted a perfect ball to Ljajic, who was having his jersey tugged, but still managed to get a shot off, but Frey parried it away.
The first half ended with Fiorentina owning 58% of the possession, leading shots 10 to 4, with 4 on net to Genoa's 2.
The second half was a different story, however. It started out lively enough for La Viola, with Jovetic sliding a cross to Ljajic that a sprawling Frey had to make an astounding save on. He parried the strike with his feet, then leapt up to punch away the ball that was hanging in front of his goal.
Genoa then began to put the pressure on Fiorentina, owning most of the ball for long stretches of time, although they were only able to get the ball on net one more time in the match. They did out shoot La Viola 4-3 in the second half.
Montella put on Aquilani, Migliaccio and El Hamdaoui in the second half, the two midfielders seemed to give more control of the ball to a struggling midfield, and the striker showed some nice moves with the ball, but got winded fairly easily and struggled to make a mark in the match.
The match ended with Fiorentina having 52% possession, they out shot Genoa 13 to 8 with 6 shots on to 3.
Viviano(6) - It wasn't pretty all the time but he did what was necessary to get his 5th overall and second clean sheet in a row.
Roncaglia(6.5) - Nice to have him back. Always solid on his side.
Rodriguez(7) - Wonderful long distance pass, plus he was rarely beaten all match. Old Father Christmas is but a distant memory.
Savic(6) - Beat badly a few times early in the first half and had a horrible back pass, but improved greatly and was solid the second half. I like to see him get back quickly after a short foray forward, something previous defenders haven't always done.
Cuadrado(7) - Man of the match again, both sides of the ball. He's a beast going forward and rarely loses out on his challenges. Crossing and passing is still somewhat of an adventure, but it seems to be getting better as he grows accustomed to his teammates.
Fernandez(6) - bit of a rough start, took him a bit to warm up and start linking with Cuadrado. the rest of the first half the two of them controlled their side. Second half was almost invisible. subbed off at the one hour mark; Aquilani(5.5) - took a dive in the box and was lucky not to be booked, got a ball on the outside corner of the box and shot it straight into his defender and gave away a ball at midfield that nearly turned into a Genoa chance. On the plus side, he took a free kick that just barely missed a trio of Viola in the box and his passes are crisp as an apple. a granny smith apple at that. With time he should be fantastic.
Pizarro(6.5) - Expert control, dodges attackers with ease, only down side was another professional foul, complete with a card. Leads the team with 5 yellows, but he has three more to go before another suspension.
Valero(6.5) - Owned his side of the pitch like a general. He and Pasqual are quickly becoming an item on that left side, just needs a bit more interaction with Jovetic. Subbed for Migliaccio, most likely to give him a bit of rest due to the quick turnovers ; Migliaccio(6) - Quickly becoming the late game midfielder stopper. He came in and Fior turned the possession battle back around and began to hold their own again.
Pasqual(6.5) - Ran early, ran late, outran the entire Genoa defense and beat Mr Frey to the ball for his goal. Not sure where all this energy has come from, but I like it. Any defensive liability that might occur from his forward runs are being absorbed by Valero and whomever plays defense on that side. His crosses were even a bit better today.
Ljajic (6) - First chance on a free kick goes straight into the wall, second chance a bit better. Has a sure goal taken away by Frey's heroics near the end of the first half. Disappeared a bit in the second half, perhaps due to being tired, but more probably because of Genoa possessing the ball for long stretches of time. Subbed for El Ham ; El Hamdaoui(5.5) - Showed a few glimpses of what he can do, lots of control, charging at the goal, but no real threat and got tired very quickly. Still think with time he might show promise.
Jovetic(6.5) - Played quietly behind the scenes, had one shot on Frey that required a great save and an near-assist for Ljajic that Frey made another amazing save on. Played more of a facilitating role today.
Montella(7) - Got his first away win, his choice of lineup seemed perfect, at least in the first half. The squad seemed to come out a bit defensive in the second half, nearly giving back the entire advantage in possession they had gotten in the first, but his two midfield subs seemed to restore order and using El Ham leaves Luca Toni available for Sunday. The team still needs to get more of a killer attitude in front of the goal and needs to learn how to bury teams when they get the advantage. This is something the last two coaches used to talk about as well.
"It was a painful match, but the victory is well-deserved. The team created many chances."
"The team showed a desire to win, it is a victory that fills me with pride. We dispelled the Marassi taboo, we are happy." We took the situation head on, without hiding, we wanted the victory today."
"It was not easy to play for so many reasons, the field did not allow a prolonged attack."
"El Hamdaoui? Toni was very well during the game but I thought that a player like El Hamdaoui could be effective. El Hamdaoui has to improve his physical fitness. He is a skilled player with the ball at his feet, has great shots, but must seek more strength."
"Delneri? I have the highest regard for him, the time we worked together was nice."
Yellow Card Situation
Disqualification of one game after the 4th, 8th, 12th, 15th and the 17th yellow card.
Past 17, every yellow card is equivalent to a one-match ban.
(Players receiving yellow cards in this match are bolded)
will be assessed a one game suspension on the next card.
It'll be another short turnaround as Fiorentina return to the Franchi on Sunday to face 8th place Cagliari, who trail Fiorentina by only 6 points. Cagliari had a rough start to the season, losing at Genoa on opening day, drawing the next two, against Atalanta and at Palermo, then losing the next three, Roma, at Milan and Pescara. Since then, however, they've righted the ship and won the next four, at Torino, Bologna, at Sampdoria, and Siena, a 4-2 goal fest midweek.
Granted all four wins have been against bottom table sides, but this won't be a match to overlook, and as it is with most home matches, three points will be a must, especially with a trip to Milan looming.
Sunday, November 4 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Cagliari
Sunday, November 11 9:00 ET AC Milan v Fiorentina
Sunday, November 18 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Atalanta
Sunday, November 25 9:00 ET Torino v Fiorentina
Wednesday, November 28 3:00 ET Fiorentina v Juve Stabia (Coppa Italia)