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Catania 1-0 Fior; Wasted Days And Wasted Nights

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1148157-cerci
And wasted opportunities. Alessio Cerci had 5 shots, 3 on goal, but couldn't score.

Squandered chances were the theme of the day for both sides under grey skies in dreary Catania this evening. Catania did make the most of a Fiorentina defensive mistake, converting a penalty kick late to squeak out a 1-0 victory.

Suspensions and injuries were key for Fiorentina Coach Delio Rossi today as he was forced to field another different lineup and yet another formation. Suspended wonder child Matija Nastasic forced a change to a 4 man back line, with Mattia Cassani and Manuel Pasqual falling back alongside Alessandro Gamberini and Cesere Natali.

Another yellow card suspension to Valon Behrami saw a midfield lineup of Ruben Olivera, Riccardo Montolivo and Andrea Lazzari, while the continuing injury to Stevan Jovetic saw Juan Manuel Vargas and Allessio Cerci move forward alongside Amauri.

One has to wonder if the constant changes of formation and lineup are not wearing on the already questionable and dubious solidarity and organization of this squad

Fiorentina had 13 shots, 6 of them on goal, none of them really troubling Catania goalie Juan Pablo Carrizo, while Catania had 15 shots, 5 on goal, although none of them troubled Artur Boruc.

Recap
The match started out all all Catania as the Rossoblu held nearly 70% of the possession in the early going, but Fior sprung a few early counters, as Amauri had a shot smothered and Cerci got loose on the goalie and lobbed a nice easy shot right into Carrizo's hands.

The waste continued as Lazzari was served in the box, albeit against a double team, but he managed to settle the ball and get a shot off, right at the goalie, which Cerci followed up with a vicious lash... at the goalie.

Fiorentina looked ready to score when Amauri dodged around the goalie, but defender Francesco Lodi stuck out a leg and blocked the shot.

It wasn't until about half an hour left in the match when Gonzalo Bergessio drove around Gamberini, who grabbed a handful of jersey and dragged him down for a penalty and a yellow card, both rightly deserved. Fiorentina were "stuck in Lodi again" and Lodi converted the penalty.

Rossi brought in a succession of subs, Housinne Kharja, newcomer Maxwell Acosty and Marco Marchionni, but late attempts to rescue a point never materialized and Fiorentina are faced with another road shutout and more questions about their heart, brains and intestinal fortitude.

The result leaves Fiorentina 7 points above relegation as Lecce were defeated by league leaders Milan and it looks very likely that Lecce is the squad that La Viola will have to keep ahead of and the second to the last match of the year, at Lecce, looks very large indeed.

Hi Lights

Report Cards
Boruc (6) - 5 saves and nearly got a finger on the penalty. not his fault
Cassani (6) - shut down Gomes for most of the match and served well on the right
Gamberini (5.5) - was solid for most of the match, but all it takes is one mistake. yellow card and a penalty.
Natali (6) - solid for most of the match. won many headers in back and nearly put a header in on offense
Pasqual (6) - deferred to Vargas for most of the match. played his role
Olivera (5) - slow and sluggish. deferred to Cassani much of the match. Subbed for Kharja; Kharja (NA)
Montolivo (5.5) - pretty much invisible. going to need an interested Rikita next week if there's to be any hope.
Lazzari (5.5) - actually played better than he usual. Had two great crosses and won a few head to head matches. still is pass challnged, however. subbed late; Marchionni (NA)
Cerci (5) - Couldn't figure out how to dribble early, then got off the lob. Figured out how to dribble, but couldn't pass, so he just started driving at the net and shooting. Might have worked except he shot it straight to the goalie or wide of the net every time. Subbed for Acosty; Acosty - (NA)
Amauri (5) - had a great chance, dribbled around the goalie but couldn't get it past the defender, it was a steep angle. never got much service after that. frustrated yellow card late
Vargas (5.5) - looked good early, but faded late.

Rossi (5.5) - The 4-3-3 didn't work at all. Fior were lucky to get out with only one goal. Will need to make the most of this next week to get ready for Juve.

Coaches Quotes
Delio Rossi: “We created five or six scoring opportunities, but were unable to make them count. Then a moment of naivety ruined everything. Juventus next week? It’ll be a passionate build-up.”

Looking Ahead
Newcastle Jr, That other team with Black and White Stripes, or Juvemerde, whatever you want to call them, they're in second place, they're unbeaten (13 wins, 14 draws and no losses) and they're coming to town.

Juve have tied four straight matches and six of the last seven, so a point out of this match isn't unthinkable, but it will take a greater effort than displayed today.

Behrami and Nastasic will be available, but all eyes and ears will be focused on the status of Stevan Jovetic.

After Juve is a trip to a famous Seaport and a date with this guy named Frey...