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Advantage Viola - Juventus 1-1 Fiorentina

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Team spirit, winning mentality, no individuality, super goalkeeping and the return of Mario Gomez are all factors of the positive away draw against Juventus in Juventus Arena. Fiorentina were ten times stronger with the presence of Borja Valero the conductor of the purple orchestra for a black and white audience.

Valerio Pennicino

Four days following a 1-0 loss to Juventus in Turin in Serie A meant it was time for the first leg of Europa League between the two teams. Both Conte and Montella made changes to their starting XI. Conte choose his second string offense (Osvaldo & Giovinco), benched Pogba for Pirlo's return, fielded Caceres in his three man defense line along Chiellini and Ogbonna behind Vidal and Marchisio whie Asamoah was at his usual left midfielder spot.

Montella on the other hand reshuffled more than half of the team. He kept Neto at the goal behind central defenders Savic and Gonzalo. Pasqual and Diakite were replaced with Tomovic and Roncaglia on the sides. Aquilani and Pizarro probably did not miss Anderson when Borja Valero and Matias Fernandez completed the four man midfield. On the front lines; Gomez, Vargas and Cuadrado gave way to Matri and Ilicic.

The match began with Fiorentina pressing hard on every ball holder from Juventus of which Vidal opened the scoring. An early goal caused the purple outfit to take control. The control was met with difficult counter attacks that needed big saves from Neto, Savic and the post. On the other side of the pitch, Buffon had to save a tricky Fernandez shot and watched other attempts go wide. The more the minutes into the match, the more Fiorentina were taking over the midfield.

Fiorentina were not able to push at the same pace in the second half as Conte's men outnumbered Fiorentina in the middle. Fernandez was unfortunately injured due to a bad step and was taken out for Ambrosini. There was no danger from either team as the battle in the middle heated up for control. There was no chance Juventus could win that battle and they were only working to stop Fiorentina from winning it. This struggle was combined with more than few confusing refereeing decisions on similar plays by both teams majorly in Juventus favor booking Pizarro and Gonzalo in the process.

Shortly after, Pogba was brought in for Osvaldo with fifteen minutes on the clock. The substitution was an answer to Gomez getting on the field for Matri a few minutes earlier in an attempt from Conte to kill the game. Just then, the little airplane took off by removing Aquilani and injecting Vargas onto the field and changing the tactics of the team. Simple instructions of long balls forward and long shots were brought in with Vargas. In almost no time, Ilicic sends a long ball to meet with an ice cold Gomez breaking an offside trap controlling the ball on the run and sends it to the back of the net right underneath Buffon. Fiorentina were stuck on attacking and did not stand back. Two long shots from Valero and Vargas needed good old Buffon skills to save his team from a first leg home defeat. The Dutch referee sounded his whistle after three minutes of added time.

Report Cards

POSITION

NAME

RATING

REMARKS

GK

Neto

7.5

One of many MoTM for me. Kept the team in the match on many occasions.

DR

Roncaglia

6

Had much more fight in him and reduced Asamoah's effect on the game to his best ability

DC

Savic

7.5

Another MoTM saving a sure goal for Juventus among numerous interceptions and crucial tackles

DC

Gonzalo

6.5

As solid as can be. Booked with a soft yellow

DL

Tomovic

6

Could be a temporary solution to the left back side. Not as good as anyone would like him to be on the left but much better than a certain birthday boy

MCR

Aquilani

5.5

Not so good but not so bad. The team covered for his back passes and lack of creativity

MCL

Valero

8

Man of the Match

MC

Pizarro

7

No giveaways, creative passing, great ball hold up.

MC

Fernandez

7.5

Provided all the speed the team had until his injury. Dribbled the sweat out of Juventus players whenever he liked to.

SS

Ilicic

7.5

The great assist of the goal

F

Matri

6.5

Played a good target man. Did his job and had a chance going wide and another on goal. Two chances that could have been goals on another day

SUB1-MC

Ambrosini

6.5

Regardless of his slow speed but his presence was important and played an important defensive role in the last 10 minutes

SUB2-F

Gomez

7.5

Yet another MoTM. Scoring a goal coming out of the bench and a 6 months injury against Juventus in Torino can be only best by Valero's leadership in this match

SUB3-MR

Vargas

6.5

Always makes his presence known to the opposing keeper. Dangerous and helped in holding up the ball and keeping possession after Gomez equalizer

Coach

Montella

8

Almost won the game with the changes of players and tactics in the second half.

Referee

Kuipers

5.5

No major mistakes. Just a few confusing decisions here and there. Booked when he shouldn't and did not book when he should have.

Quotes

Neto:

"The important thing is that I contributed to a good result,"

"I am happy with the character we showed tonight and the way we played after conceding so early. We did well not to let our heads drop, as the team proved it had confidence in its own qualities."

"Personally I always had faith in my talent and knew that I could give this team a lot. My family helped me, as they were very supportive in the difficult moments."

"I think it'll be very difficult, knowing the way things work in Brazil. They won the Confederations Cup a few months ago and it'll be tough to see many changes in that squad.

"However, I'll keep working and am ready in case I am called."

Montella:

"We need to keep the ball, otherwise we struggle,"

"Against Juve that is even more necessary, as they are a stronger team and physically tougher, so we have to play between the lines.

"There were positive signs despite the difficult start, as they were forcing our full-backs to stay tight. I liked the first half perhaps more than the second, asFiorentina were always in it and almost all Juve's scoring opportunities were on set plays.

"We always tried to take the initiative and I saw my team enjoy its football in possession."

"The first touch was wonderful, but also his physique and international experience. Combine all those and you get a world class goal. He could not have chosen a better moment to get back on the scoresheet."

"A Coach prepares a strategy ahead of a game, but some work and others don't. Against Juve you have to prepare several, as they have so many options and movements.

"Initially we decided to push up and keep the ball wide to avoid them going through the middle and slowly we got the measure of them. I like this style of football, attacking and taking some risks.

"I don't know how many games Cuadrado has played, but he can be on the bench occasionally. I made a tactical choice too, as we needed players who would dialogue with a certain logic and his strength is more of an illogical approach!"

"We are by no means favourites. Fiorentina have scored regularly for the last two years, so at most we have a slight advantage."

Conte:

"In all honesty, I preferred this performance to Sunday's. Of course when you concede a goal it's hard to justify, but I feel the team created many chances, hitting the bar as well and probably expressed better football than we saw on Sunday.

"When you concede a goal there are always situations to analyse and corrections to be found. We lost the ball in midfield and this through ball took us by surprise, then Gomez did very well to control and beat Buffon as he came out."

"Optimistic? I am always optimistic. It's a football match, we play to win and we have won a lot, but it's fair to draw against Fiorentina, as they are a strong side. I do feel we were a little unlucky tonight, as we could've scored more."

"Maybe we shouldn't take the lead! On a psychological level teams have a different approach, maybe subconsciously, when going in front early on. We have gone in front in every game with Fiorentina this season.

"The 4-2 defeat was strange, as they scored four in 20 minutes. It's true on Sunday Fiorentina pushed hard in the final stages, but I felt it was a deserved victory.

"If we look at the chances created tonight, then I'd say we were a little unlucky to draw. It was a good performance from both Juventus andFiorentina, so I don't see why we should praise one side to the detriment of another.

"It was a great game and a fine advert for Italian football in Europe. I imagine those watching enjoyed the spectacle."

"It was not our intention to control the game, that is not the input I give to my players. I had to replace Giovinco as he had a muscular problem, whileOsvaldo was dead by that stage. I absolutely do not tell my players to control a 1-0 lead, as I always urge them to score a second and third goal.

"We won 2-0 in Turkey by rotating the squad and nobody complained there. The squad has 22 players, I tried to put my best formation out taking everything into account. Tevez had a knee problem, Marchisio, Vidal and Pirloare a stratospheric trio in midfield, while Asamoah played wide. These were hardly second choices."

Buffon:

"Maybe we thought, considering in recent games we had controlled the second half well, that we could do so again," the captain told Sky Sport Italia.

"It is also true that it can't always go well, as we were facing a side with strong individuals who can hurt you at any moment and find that moment to change the game.

"The goal is one of those moves that can happen, especially as Gomez is a great champion. Naturally there are regrets, as we thought that we could take the 1-0 home the same way we had done on Sunday in Serie A."

Vidal:

"I am very bitter, as it was a bad performance,"

"There are still 90 minutes to go and we have to win at the Stadio Franchi."

"Was I happy with my goal? The important thing is to win trophies, not score goals."

Valero:

"Considering the way the game went with that early goal, I'd say we were fantastic," Borja Valero told Sky Sport Italia.

"We played our game with the ball and in the end got that goal that will be fundamental in the second leg.

"We weren't set out well defensively at the start and Juve came out fighting, but after the goal we had the courage to take control of the ball in a very difficult stadium to play in."

"The draw won't change anything, as we always play the same way and will try to win in the second leg."

"The goal above all is important for Mario, as he has been out for such a long time and will gain confidence from it."

Hi Lights


Statistics

Juventus

VS

Fiorentina

40%

Possession

60%

14 (6)

Shots (On Target)

13(4)

5

Corners

6

16

Fouls committed

20

0

Yellow Cards

2

0

Red Cards

0

UEFA Europa League Goals

Name

Goals

Matos

3

Cuadrado

3

Gonzalo

2

Joaquin

2

Ilicic

2

Valero

1

Rossi

1

Ambrosini

1

Aquilani

1

Matri

1

Gomez

1 (Scored in this match)

UEFA Europa League card accumulation

Name

YELLOW CARDS

RED CARDS

SUSPENSIONS

Pizarro

3

-

Misses next match against Juventus

Cuadrado

2

-

Misses match on next yellow card

Fernandez

2

-

Misses match on next yellow card

Bakic

2

-

Misses match on next yellow card

Gonzalo

2

-

-

Ambrosini

1

-

-

Aquilani

1

-

-

Compper

1

-

-

Matos

1

-

-

Alonso

1

-

-

Roncaglia

1

-

-

Valero

1

-

-

Pasqual

1

-

-

Ilicic

1

-

-

A welcome back to Borja Valero

Here are the 14 players who played against Juventus today

Ilicic

-

Alessandro

Matias

-

Borja

.

Vargas

-

Gomez

Roncaglia

Ambrosini

Neto

Davide

-

Savic

Tomovic

Aquilani

Rudriguiz

What is next?

Next Sunday, Fiorentina host Chievo Verona in a must win match to end the non-winning streak in all competitions and more importantly to stay in fourth place in Serie A.


Sun Mar 16 3:45 ET Fiorentina v Chievo Verona
Thu Mar 20 2:00 ET Fiorentina v Juventus - Europa League (Third Round)
Sun Mar 23 1:30 ET Napoli v Fiorentina
Wed Mar 26 10:00 ET Fiorentina v AC Milan
Sun Mar 30 9:00 ET Sampdoria v Fiorentina
Sun Apr 6 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Udinese
Sun Apr 13 9:00 ET Hellas Verona v Fiorentina
Sat Apr 19 9:00 ET Fiorentina v AS Roma
Sun Apr 27 9:00 ET Bologna v Fiorentina
Sat May 3 2:45 ET Fiorentina v Napoli  - Coppa Italia (Final)
Sun May 4 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Sassuolo
Sun May 11 9:00 ET Livorno v Fiorentina
Sun May 18 9:00 ET Fiorentina v Torino
End Of Season

Forza Viola!