We were all a little afraid of this match. Verona is a decent team, even though not as exciting as last season, and with Fiorentina being in less than impressive form recently, and the holy tradition of sucking after international breaks - there were reasons to worry. But in the end, it was a more than decent performance, topped with two goals, by two players that needed it the most (after Mario Gomez) - Juan Cuadrado and Gonzalo Rodriguez.
Vincenzo Montella made few changes compared to previous games. Most significant one, though not unexpected, is switching back to a 3-5-2 formation. As Aeroplanino said after the game, it's the system that offers most security to him and the players. Which is not to say that the gialloblu didn't cause problems in this game, but there were definitely some improvements over recent performances.
Changing the formation wasn't the only thing Montella did. After two months, we've seen Joaquin back in the starting line up. But, he wasn't Gomez' partner in attack, as you might expect -- he was positioned on the right side of the midfield. Cuadrado was nominally the center forward, but he spent a lot of time on the left, with Marcos Alonso being the left wing back. That meant that the 3-5-2 was almost a 4-3-3, resembling the shape Fiorentina often had in Montella's first season (and later, of course, but to a lesser extent).
The game itself showed some negatives. Three man defense offers more solidity, but the problems are still there. Verona's attacking partnership of Luca Toni and Nicolas Lopez created some serious trouble. There are still some dark moments, when the team completely disappears and lets the opponent run things. Whether it's lack of confidence or something else, but after both our goals, Verona dominated and, let's be honest, deserved one more goal.
Fiorentina took the lead early, at 16th minute . First Rafael saved Cuadrado's shot with his leg, but after a resulting corner Fiorentina took the lead. Alonso flicked on the ball on the near post for Rodriguez to tap it in from few meters away. At first it looked as though the Argentine was offside, but replays showed that Nico Lopez was keeping him onside. Not more than a minute later, Gonzalo almost scored his second, again after a corner, but his shot was saved.
The Gomez button was almost pressed at 28th, when the German hit the post, after Cuadrado dispossessed Vangelis Moras and passed it to the German inside the box, but he wasn't lucky to score his first of the season. Few minutes later, Toni rattled the bar of Neto's goal, from a spectacular volley.
A minute before the halftime, Verona equalized. Toni's sent a perfect through pass for Lopez, who beat the offside trap and Neto for the ball and flicked it pass the Brazilian goalkeeper who can count himself lucky for getting only a yellow card on that occasion. However, a minute before all that, Rafael Marquez brought down Cuadrado in the box. The most obvious of penalties wasn't given, and instead of a chance for 2-0, first half ended 1-1.
Fiorentina should have been 2-1 up when Joaquin drew pretty much the whole Verona defense and served Alonso, but the Spaniard couldn't direct his shot goalward. A long period of pressure finally paid off, when, few minutes later, Cuadrado scored from close range after Alonso's perfect cross.
After that, Verona took the control and pressed for an equalizer. Luckily, the gialloblu couldn't find it, even though they had couple of good opportunities.
Verona: Rafael; Gonzalez, Moras, Marquez, Agostini; Ionita, Obbadi (Campanharo 9), Hallfredsson (Christodoulopoulos 71); Tachtsidis (Saviola 82); Lopez, Toni
Fiorentina: Neto; Basanta, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Savic; Joaquin (Babacar 77), Borja Valero, Pizarro, Fernandez, Alonso (Vargas 63); Cuadrado, Gomez (Kurtic 82)