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Dinamo Minsk 0 - Fiorentina 3: Bernardeschi Belarus Blues

Fiorentina didn't need a central striker to take control of Group K.

Choose your own caption in the poll below. Photo
Choose your own caption in the poll below. Photo
Gabriele Maltinti

Match Summary

We were excited before the match to see Federico Bernardeschi make his debut as a full Fiorentina starter, but after sealing a second consecutive 3-0 win in Europe, we are maybe even more excited to see him play again... and soon! The electric Bernardeschi got his richly deserved goal on 67 minutes, after cool finishes by Alberto Aquilani and Josip Ilicic had already given la Viola a commanding advantage over home side Dinamo Minsk.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Hmm... <a href="">#Bernardeschi</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) <a href="">October 2, 2014</a></blockquote>

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It was the same 20 year old Tuscan-born that came flying out of the gates in the opening minutes, first forcing a save out of Ignatovich with an impressive turn and volley, then collecting an Ilicic pass in the box before gliding past two and firing at Ignatovich again. Dinamo Minsk found it difficult to hold onto the ball, but did find occasional opportunities to test Ciprian Tatarusanu from range throughout the match, producing a couple fine saves from the Romanian keeper. Fiorentina were playing without a central striker due to injuries and Montella rotating players ahead of the weekend, but there was plenty of creative and technical spark in the team to trouble a shaky home defense. Bernardeschi created another good chance dribbling forward from the left in the 17th minute before serving a tempting ball for his strike partner Ilicic, only for the ball to bounce off the Slovenian's heels. It looked like it might be another one of those games for the ex-Palermo man, but he responded well to an uncomfortable start and put in a fine performance. The breakthrough came in the 33rd minute from an excellent Manuel Pasqual cross, who was found in space after some neat play by Bernardeschi and Borja Valero. The club captain's venomous delivery lured the keeper out clumsily, so the defensive header that anticipated Ignatovich left the goalmouth unguarded, allowing Aquilani to calmly volley the ball in. Fiorentina continued to press after the opener and were occasionally dangerous down the right with Micah Richards looking in the mood before a hamstring problem forced him to exit the field (hopefully only a precautionary measure) for Marcos Alonso. Nenad Tomovic shifted over to the right, and Dinamo Minsk enjoyed their best spell of the game by overloading that side and sending in crosses. The home team nearly leveled when a Stasevich cross found Diomande at the far post, but the striker's header went wide of the far post with Tatarusanu beaten.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Can we just play Europa League and forget Serie A? <a href="">#minskfiorentina</a></p>&mdash; Giancarlo Rinaldi (@ginkers) <a href="">October 2, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Vincenzo Montella elected to use his second substitution at the beginning of the second half, with David Pizarro replacing the goalscorer Aquilani. Both this substitution and the replacement of Borja Valero with Andrea Lazzari at the 60th minute may have been made with an eye towards Sunday's home clash with Inter Milan, although moving Badelj over to the right a bit seemed to ease the pressure on Tomovic. Pizarro entered the flow of the game well, but nearly gifted Dinamo Minsk an equalizer in the 52nd minute when he attempted to dribble his man inside his own half. The subsequent 2 vs 1 was wasted in spectacular fashion by Figueredo, who blasted his finish over the bar. Fiorentina though played an excellent second half with the exception of Pek's mistake, and found a richly deserved goal in the 61st minute when the fresh Andrea Lazzari slipped a great diagonal ball in that went beyond Bernardeschi but found Ilicic, who slotted home at the back post. Only six minutes later, it Josip who played provider after a pretty horrendous lapse by Dinamo Minsk allowed a Lazzari outlet ball to turn into a counterattack. Ilicic bought time and then fed Bernardeschi, whose clinical left foot beat the onrushing keeper. With the game essentially over, Fiorentina continued to dominate the ball and nearly found a fourth when another good Pasqual cross found an unmarked Lazzari at the far post, but his header only found the crossbar. Dinamo Minsk brought on two teenage prospects and the game fizzled out to a richly deserved win that sees Fiorentina alone at the top of Group K.

La Viola now have a perfect 6 from 6 and a +6 goal difference in the Europa League. Massive credit again to our defense, who despite wholesale changes kept play in front of them and limited the home team to only two big chances; Montella's defense has now only allowed 1 goal in their last 6 competitive games. We'll see if the 6th game of the Serie A season on Sunday against fellow Europa League competitors Inter proves as kind to Fiorentina as their current, erm ... 6/6(+6)... Does that make sense? There are a weird amount of 6's flying around, that's all I'm saying and they are generally good. Forza viola, let's get some of these 3 goal victories in Italy too now!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Tata 6.5&#10;Richards 6&#10;Tomo 6&#10;Basanta 6&#10;Pasqual 6.5&#10;Aquilani 6.5&#10;Badelj 6&#10;Borja 6&#10;Iličić 6.5&#10;Berna 7&#10;Vargas 6&#10;Alonso 6&#10;Pek 6&#10;Laz 6.5&#10;✈️ 6.5</p>&mdash; Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) <a href="">October 2, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Highlights to Come