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Sassuolo Snatch Point, Viola Stutter At Home

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A scoreless draw was all Fiorentina could manage against a visiting team encamped in their own half.

We know Borja. We know. Photo
We know Borja. We know. Photo
Gabriele Maltinti

For the second time in as many Serie A games, Fiorentina failed to find the net at home, despite Juan Cuadrado and Borja Valero smacking the left and right posts respectively with goal-scoring chances. While la Viola did manage to find the upright(s), most of the game was spent in sterile dominance, without being able to consistently construct good chances. Not all the credit or blame can be assigned to Fiorentina, of course. Eusebio Di Francesco's Sassuolo curbed their generally enterprising ways in the absence of Domenico Berardi and Simone Zaza, their young and explosive counterattacking players. The result was good for neither neutrals nor the home fans.

Fiorentina began the first half brightly, with Alberto Aquilani firing a volley just wide of the upright in the opening minutes. Joaquin had a good first half, often running at his defenders with the ball at his feet, and it was his cross that first nearly reached Khouma Babacar (entrusted to lead the line tonight), then fell to Cuadrado on the edge of the 6. The Colombian's low near post drive caromed off of Consigli's post, and Sassuolo survived their first scare. It was Cuadrado again who forced Consigli into an awkward save only a couple minutes later, before Aquilani sent Babacar running through; only an excellent challenge by Luca Antei - author of an authoritative game for the visitors - closed down his attempted shot.

In the second half the pattern was unchanged. Neto was a spectator as Fiorentina were truly dominant in possession but unable to find the breakthrough. Vincenzo Montella's team was tentative at first but then gained momentum around 70', where Borja Valero - noted NOT goalscorer - had two fantastic chances. An excellent Cuadrado cross found him free in the box, but his contortion was not as good as Gilardino's used to be, and his header flew wide. Then he combined well with Babacar which got him into the box with the ball at his feet; the Spaniard did everything right but his sidefooted finish came directly back off the bar. From there Fiorentina had one other glaring chance - a short-range half volley which Cuadrado sent into the stratosphere - but mainly were unable to get open looks. Marcos Alonso and Nenad Tomovic both illustrated their mediocrity going forward in this match, and the last 10-15 minutes were unduly reliant on their play in wide areas. The only remaining thing to note was Cervellera's rather lenient arbitration, which saw an absolutely atrocious Paolo Cannavaro challenge on Babacar unpunished in the final minute. Here are the full highlights, which I will watch pretending Borja's effort went in.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Believe it or not, we are actually +1 in the &quot;corresponding fixtures&quot; from last season. Having only scored 1 goal in Serie A. Weird.</p>&mdash; Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) <a href="https://twitter.com/Viola_Nation/status/514879328753315841">September 24, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Neto &#10;Tomović 5.5&#10;Gonzalo 6&#10;Savić 6&#10;Alonso 5.5&#10;Kurtic 6&#10;Aquilani 7&#10;Borja 6&#10;Joaquín 6.5&#10;Cuadrado 5.5&#10;Babacar 6&#10;Montella 5.5</p>&mdash; Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) <a href="https://twitter.com/Viola_Nation/status/514880060986503168">September 24, 2014</a></blockquote>

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