Another game, another frustrating draw. Ten men Fiorentina were held to a second successive 2-2 draw in the space of a week, not even a Federcio Bernardeschi brace enough to stave off a comeback from home side Basel. The Europa League group has shaped up to be much harder than originally thought, and Paulo Sousa will be left with a bitter taste in his mouth after failing to get one back on his former employers.
The Viola got off to a good start as they dominated play throughout the opening half hour and they could have gone ahead within just five, as Mohamed Elnenny - who was to play the pantomime villain in this fixture - appeared to strike the ball with his hand as he lunged into the penalty area to block a Josip Ilicic shot. Yet no, it wasn't to be as Slovak referee Ivan Kruzliak waved play on.
If anything, that injustice rather drove Fiorentina forward as they passed their way around the pitch in search of goal. Twenty minutes later and they finally found the net, Borja Valero fed Bernardeschi a delightful pass through the Basel defence, to which the youngster slotted calmly into the back of the net. From then on, things all seemed rosy and delightful and the match was a real walk in the park, right? Wrong. Just minutes after the opening goal, Facundo Roncaglia undid all the hard work and got himself sent off by elbowing Breel Embolo in the face. Oh Facundo, what did you do that for?
From that moment onwards, Fiorentina were never really on the front foot, despite the fact that Bernardeschi managed to nab a second goal to give the Viola a shock 2-0 lead. Ilicic was brought off for Nenad Tomovic to shore up the defence, and the majority of the attacking threat seemed to drain from the game. Basel reacted well and eventually grabbed one back through Marek Suchy in the 40th minute, the goal was deemed *cough* onside *cough*.
The second half followed more or less the same pattern of misfortune for Fiorentina, who had done everything right (disregarding Roncaglia's moment of madness) in the first half. The referee continued to dish out yellow cards to any player that walked near him, and not before long the Swiss side found an equaliser, seemingly out of nowhere. Elnenny popped up once more to add to Fiorentina's misery, as the Egyptian international fired in a shot from outside the area (not all too different to the one he scored in the reverse fixture) to make it two-a-piece.
The rest of the match consisted of both sides trading blows, though nothing came of it in the end and the two teams had to settle for a stalemate.
All in all it must be said that Fiorentina did remarkably well to hold on for at least the one point, having spent over an hour with just ten men, though the result does mean that a draw at minimum is required against Belenenses at home on December 10.