Many teams who have played midweek in the Europa league have suffered with a European hangover, so it was fairly obvious that Vincenzo Montella was going to change the personnel this evening. Hardly anyone could have predicted a squad rotation on this scale though, as only three players remained from the team that drew with Tottenham on Thursday.
The first half was a frustrating one for Fiorentina. Despite having much of the possession, they couldn't make the breakthrough. The focus of the half, though, was a series of questionable decisions by the referee. Torino were lucky in the second minute, when Emiliano Moretti handled in the area and no penalty was awarded. The next penalty appeal proved fruitful when Milan Badelj was adjudged to have been fouled by Marco Benassi. Khouma Babacar stepped up to take the penalty but Daniele Padelli pulled off a double save from what was essentially a fairly weak effort. When Josip Ilicic, who seemed to be performing with renewed enthusiasm, was cynically fouled by Giuseppe Vives when clean through on the edge of the area, no red card was forthcoming. The resulting free kick and yellow card for Vives provided no recompense for Ilicic's denied opportunity.
Torino didn't have a shot until the 20th minute, but then started to come into the game a little more. A superb flick on from Fabio Quagliarella fed Maxi Lopez on 25 minutes, but Ciprian Tatarusanu saved well to deny him. Alessandro Diamanti had yet another denied shout for a penalty on 28 minutes when he was seemingly fouled by Moretti. The first half ended a frustrating 0-0.
The second half continued in much the same way. The referee again waved away penalty claims when Nikola Maksimovic brought down Ilicic early in the second half. Il Toro were happy to hit Fiorentina on the break, and should have taken the lead on 71 minutes. Tatarusanu came racing off his line to find himself in no man's land, only to be rescued by a superb block from Gonzalo Rodriguez.
Joaquin and Mohammed Salah had been brought on for Aleandro Rosi and Diamanti in an attempt to create some opportunities going forward. Shortly after shooting just wide with a decent volley, Babacar was also changed for Alberto Gilardino. It was now or never for Fiorentina as they tried to break the deadlock.
On 85 minutes, La viola did just that with substitutes Gilardino and Salah combining beautifully to set up an assured finish from Salah. That, as they say, should have been that. At this stage of the game, Fiorentina continued to commit an awful lot of players forward when it would have been sensible to exercise caution. They were completely exposed at the back when Torino poured forward just minutes later, and Vives, who should have been sent off earlier; converted his chance after Tatarusanu parried well from Maxi Lopez.
Although Fiorentina retain their unbeaten run, the evening ended in exasperation. Having broken the deadlock after so long, they really should have held on for the win. A difficult run of fixtures is to come, starting with the second leg of the Europa league tie against Tottenham on Thursday night. No doubt Montella will change the personnel, but one thing is for sure, the performance needs to be much improved.
Tatarusanu 6.5 Tomovic 5.5 Gonzalo 7 Basanta 6 Rosi 5.5 Vargas 5.5 Badelj 7 Aquilani 5.5 Ilicic 5.5 Diamanti 5 Babacar 5.5 Montella 5— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) February 22, 2015Salah 7 Joaquin 6 Gilardino 5.5
— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) February 22, 2015