A rain soaked evening in the capital this evening saw AS Roma host Fioretina in the Coppa Italia quarter final.
The first half was uneventful to say the least, with no clear chances created for either side. Radja Nainggolan looked like the only player capable of creating anything. It seemed like Fiorentina were waiting for a Roma onslaught that never came.
No doubt Montella will have instructed his players to keep things tight in the early part of the second half, but the expected Roma pressure still never materialised. Even Nainggolan had been subdued since the break. It was on 65 minutes when Manuel Pasqual and Mario Gomez decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Pasqual, unseen by Maicon on the left wing, played an early ball in to Gomez who slid in and made no mistake in hitting the back of the net.
The belief continued to grow from this point as Fiorentina took a firm hold of the game. With players pouring forward, second half substitute Josip Ilicic was ruled offside after hitting the bar from Gomez' ball in.
The tie was well and truly sewn up in the 89th minute when Pasqual and Gomez combined well to strike again. Mati Fernandez found Pasqual in acres of space on the left hand side, who was able to take his time to pick out Gomez in the box. Gomez took a second to get the ball under full control and fired the ball left footed into the roof of the net sending the travelling tifosi into delirium. The composure shown by Gomez was a delight to see. Can we start to believe that he is returning to his old self?
This was by no means a classic encounter, however, it must be said that Vincenzo Montella's tactics were just right this time. Roma's non-attendance must not take the shine off what was a very professional and comprehensive performance from Fiorentina.
The small matter of a tie with Juventus is now the only thing standing in the way of a consecutive Coppa Italia final for la viola. The memory of tonight's performance can only serve to spur the team on. Forza Viola!