More frustration for Viola fans, but also a precious point visiting a notoriously difficult ground. The entertaining 1-1 draw with Torino featured plenty of chances at both ends, and from a Fiorentina perspective, one could definitely describe the player performances as a collection of highs and lows.
Vincenzo Montella was greatly restricted in choosing his lineup, particularly in his attacking options, with none of Juan Cuadrado, Joaquin, Marko Marin (yeah remember him?), Gomez, or Rossi fit, and another midweek game in Belarus awaiting Fiorentina. Matias Fernandez once again started, this time at the tip of a midfield diamond behind Josip Ilicic and Khouma Babacar. Micah Richards made his first Serie A start on the right side of the defense, while captain Manuel Pasqual returned on the left.
Fiorentina started the match well if at a low tempo, with Borja Valero sending a venomous ball across the face of goal from inside the box, before Ilicic hit the wall with a free kick. Matias Fernandez won another free kick on 18' with a wonderful turn, and the following free kick scheme to Borja Valero released Babacar in the box, whose goal was disallowed for an incidental handball. Former Juventus man Fabio Quagliarella then found Torino's first shot on target with an optimistic lob from midfield, but Norberto Neto was alert to the danger and tipped the ball over the bar. Soon after Babacar had the best Viola chance of the half, where he controlled a wonderful lofted ball from Borja Valero but was unable to beat an in-form Jean-Francois Gillet. Torino responded with an excellent combination between Omar El Kaddouri and Sanchez Mino, but the Argentinian missed the far post with his volley. Both keepers were again asked to be sharp on point blank efforts from Quagliarella and Babacar before the close of the half, with Neto's save to deny the Italian particularly fine.
Despite Fiorentina comfortably running the show in the first half, it was Torino that took control early in the second half. Borja Valero faded after his early influence, and the endlessly infuriating Josip Ilicic turned into a liability. Matteo Darmian wasted an excellent chance after a defensive lapse following a corner, before Quagliarella scored to put Torino in the lead. Bruno Peres - a repeated threat against a lackluster Pasqual - found the by line and squared to Quagliarella who turned and fired home professionally. Montella tried to change the game with a raft of substitutions, with none of them bizarrely being for Ilicic. It was the third substitution that brought Fiorentina back level, with Federico Bernardeschi coming on for the solid debutant Richards. With his first touches Bernardeschi was able to slide a delightful throughball into the feet of his former Primavera teammate Babacar, who rounded the keeper with one touch and coolly finished with another. Torino threatened vaguely in the closing stages, particularly down the right where Neto was forced to come out again to deter Quagliarella, but there wasn't a winner in either side.
A draw was the fair result certainly, although Fiorentina will regret not capitalizing on their first half performance. Richards, Babacar, Neto, and Bernardeschi are the assured positives to take from the match. Now to get a result in Belarus in midweek and try to (finally) get a win at home in the big Sunday posticipo against Inter.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Neto 7 Richards 6 Gonzalo 6.5 Savić 6 Pasqual 5 Kurtic 6 Badelj 5 Borja 5.5 Iličić Babacar 7 Mati 6.5 Montella 6 - Aqui, Pek 6 Berna </p>— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) <a href="https://twitter.com/Viola_Nation/status/516243023316127744">September 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
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