Fiorentina's 2013 slump continued Sunday, as they lose to Udinese at the Stadio Friuli 3-1, although it was a very dubious three goals scored for the home team as two goals appeared to be as a result of missed offside calls and the third was a complete howler by the Fiorentina goalie.
La Viola had to do without Field General David Pizarro, out with an ankle sprain, and normal starter Facundo Roncaglia also sat out the match, the reason has yet to be announced by the team.
Stefan Savic slotted in for Rongaclia in front of Goalie Neto. Gonzalo Rodriguez was back from suspension in the middle of the defense, while Nenad Tomovic filled out the left side.
Giulio Migliaccio replaced Pizarro in the center of the midfield, while Juan Cuadrdo, Alberto Aquilani, Borja Valero and Manuel Pasqual took up their normal positions. Adem Ljajic got the starting nod up front with Stevan Jovetic, to round out the squad.
Udinese had to do without Mehdi Benatia and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, as the pair will be representing Morocco and Ghana respectively in the Africa Cup of Nations, while Diego Fabbrini failed a late fitness test.
Coach Francesco Guidolin went with a 3-5-2 in front of Goalie Zeljko Brkic. Thomas Heurtaux, Danilo and Maurizio Domizzi in defense. Dusan Basta, Roberto Maximiliano Pereyra, Giampiero Pinzi, former Viola Andrea Lazzari and Giovanni Pasquale in the midfield, with Luis Muriel and Antonio Di Natale up front.
Fiorentina got off to a strong start, as an own goal was conceded by Brkic, off a header by Rodriguez, which glanced off the crossbar, then into Krkic and into the net.
Brkic had to come off near halftime as he broke a finger in a collision with Cuadrado.
Right before halftime, Migliaccio was called for a foul on Domizzi in the box, although replays clearly show the player to be offside. Scuffles ensued, with Aquilani being kicked by Di Natale after Aquilani seemed to try to dig a hole in the penalty spot prior to the kick. Both players were shown yellow cards, but Di Natale had no trouble making the kick and sent the match into halftime tied, 1-1.
Udinese owned possession with 55%, but Fiorentina had more shots, 8 to 6, although none of the 8 shots were on goal. Lots of misses and blocked shots as has lately been the case with this Viola squad.
The second half started out much brighter for Fiorentina, as they were able to take back possession and were much more dangerous, but more missed and blocked shots plagued La Viola, although they did get two weak shots on net.
The inability to score finally cost Fiorentina dearly as Udinese broke free on a counter, with Lazzari putting a pass through to a charging Di Natale, who dribbled free and beat neto, who had no idea what to do. Replays appeared to show the Udinese player a step offside as well, but the goal counted and when Muriel launched a long shot which Neto fumbled into the goal a minute later, the game was all but over.
Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella attempted to recover by bringing in Luca Toni for defender Tomovic, and Romulo for Cuadrado, and near the end Haris Seferovic for Ljajic, but all to no avail.
Fiorentina called for free kicks just outside the box twice as Jovetic appeared to be brought down, but Ref Andrea Romeo declined to make the call and the match ended 3-1.
Fiorentina ended the match with more possession, 55% to 45%, way more shots, 21 to 12, but which much less accuracy as Udinese had 5 shots on net to only 2 for the Viola.
Fiorentina remain in 5th place after a win by Inter and a loss from 6th place Roma, whom La Viola play in the Coppa Italia midweek. Udinese move up into a tie for 7th with AC Milan, although the Montolivos have an afternoon match at Sampdoria.
Neto(4) - Gave up more goals than he had saves and one was on a complete howler. Time to go back to the bench.
Savic(5.5) - 7 clearances and 3 interceptions. The whole defense loses points for being burned on the counter several times, however.
Rodriguez(6) - 2 tackles, 4 clearances, 1 block and 5 interceptions and caused the first goal. The whole defense loses points for being burned on the counter several times, however.
Tomovic(5.5) - 3 tackles and 4 clearances, 7 duels won to only 1 lost. The whole defense loses points for being burned on the counter several times, however. ; Toni(NA) - No effect on the match.
Cuadrado(6) - Passing efficiency way low, as always, only 55% in the attacking half. 2 shots, both off net and 2 successful crosses. He still holds the ball too long and is too in love with his driving skills. Needs to work the give and go more ; Romulo(NA) - No effect on the match.
Aquilani(5) - Only two shots, one on net and one unsuccessful cross. Fior need a LOT more from him...
Migliaccio(6) - Other than the penalty, which shouldn't have been called due to offside, he played a good match. He had three tackles, 3 clearances, 2 blocks, 6 interceptions and won three fouls. He won TWELVE duels, while only losing 4. Compare those stats to Pasqual's, a bit down the page...
Valero(7) - Best player on the field, as is usually the case. Hopefully not injured too badly, he did come back onto the pitch. Scuffed one shot, but it would've been ana amazing play to get it on net.
Pasqual(3) - Don't know how many more times I'm going to have to say it, Pasqual is the weakest link, maybe in the whole squad, but definitely in the midfield. On defense, only 1 tackle and two clearances. Head to head, he won 2 duels and lost 4 duels. Out of 7 crosses attempted, only 2 were successful. Went offside on a great pass, goal taken away. Yes he's very loyal, but, hey, Viola keep starting him, on any other top ten squad he wouldn't get playing time in a meaningless friendly. Who wouldn't be loyal...
Jovetic(4.5) - Time for this dood to show he's really worth all the talk. He FINALLY unleashed one shot from distance and it actually didn't hit a defender, and he got off a shot that dribbled wide, but those were his only two shots of the match. That will not get it done. He also was credited with three crosses, all unsuccessful.
Ljajic(4) - Too selfish and can't get the ball on net. I wouldn't mind selfish if he were actually a threat, but he's not. Time to loan him down to Serie B, so he can start on a regular basis against lesser talent and learn how to score regularly. Subbed late for Seferovic. ;Seferovic(NA) - No effect on the match.
Montella(5) - Something is clearly wrong with this squad, and he hasn't been able to do anything about it. They just keep doing the same old thing, which isn't working anymore. This team can't score, teams are just packing it back and taking the ball away just outside the box. Jovetic finally took one shot from far out, but it was after the match was over. This team needs a change in tactics and badly.
Andrea Romeo (4) Linesman (2) - Romeo didn't do a completely terrible job, but both his linesmen missed offside calls that lead directly to Udinese goals. Romeo did miss an obvious foul near the Udinese box prior to the two goals that could've made a difference. Jovetic clearly had his foot stepped on, but no call. should've been a free kick just outside the area. Also, Fiorentina had nearly twice the number of fouls called against, 13 to 7.
"I was a little angry with Guidolin, because he basically demanded a corner that Udinese had not been given. It did not seem to be the right thing to do, as for example our policy is not to comment on referees."
"Either Neto or Viviano will play the next game, but the error was a situation that can happen.
"We lost the last two games, but showed that we believed and put in strong performances. It can happen that the other team has talented players who score goals. I just compliment my players."
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 have an *)
Rodriguez (5) *
Jovetic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Tomovic (3) - one game suspension on the next card.
Valero (3)* - one game suspension on the next card.
Aquilani (2) *
Midweek tilt with AS Roma in the Coppa and then a huge rematch with Napoli. As things currently stand, it doesn't look like this team can match up with either squad, especially with Pizarro and, possibly, Valero injured, but stranger things have happened. Francesco Totti was held out of today's match and will have an ultrasound tomorrow. His participation on Wednesday is at risk.
Wednesday, January 16 3:00 ET Fiorentina v AS Roma (Coppa Italia)
Sunday, January 20 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Napoli
Sunday, January 27 9:00 ET Catania v Fiorentina
Sunday, February 3 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Parma
Saturday, February 9 12:00 ET Juventus v Fiorentina
Sunday, February 17 2:45 ET Fiorentina v Internazionale