Mohammed Salah was the man to make the difference in the game against Inter, but the whole team had to play their part to cross the finish line with the three points away from home.
Fiorentina started on the front foot, pressing high, and Inter couldn't get a grip on the game. The nerazzuri almost looked like they were still in awe of the team that had mauled them at the Artemio Franchi in October. The method of keeping tight in the first half that has been so successful for Vincenzo Montella's men of late worked again to contain their opposition and they also had several chances to take the lead. The pick of the chances fell to Jasmin Kurtic who blazed over after some fantastic work on the right from Nenad Tomovic had picked him out perfectly. The scare of the half came as Fredy Guarin rattled the post on 35 minutes, but Fiorentina were, on the whole, making Inter look distinctly average. Just before half time, Mohammed Salah came on to replace Khouma Babacar, who was unable to continue with what looked to be a hamstring problem.
The enforced introduction of Salah made the difference just ten minutes into the second half. Manuel Pasqual whipped in a dangerous cross from the left which Samir Handanovic was only able to parry into the path of the oncoming Salah who made no mistake yet again to find the back of the net and the hearts of the viola fans. Fiorentina were smoothly alternating between discipline and flair, some of their passing was a delight to see and Salah was continuing to carve open the Inter defence. The last eight minutes of the game, though, were to test the viola tenacity and team spirit to the very limit. On 82 minutes Tomovic went down after receiving an accidental knock to the back of his neck from Rodrigo Palacio. Montella, seemingly thinking that Tomovic was going to get up, used his last substitution, bringing on Juan Manuel Vargas for Alberto Aquilani. It then became clear that Tomovic was not going to continue as he was worryingly stretchered off wearing a neck brace and Fiorentina had to continue with 10 men. 10 became 9 on 88 minutes as Stefan Savic had to be taken off through injury and so began a horrifyingly tense end to the game, with six minutes in time to be added on. Inter sparked into life as the heroic nine men hung on, Norberto Neto making a stunning save on 92 minutes and Vargas keeping calm under extreme pressure to take Fiorentina over the finish line.
The team again showed their character and versatility to get this result with so many changes from the win against Tottenham. Montella's game plan of late look extremely astute, which, combined with the determination of the players is having the desired effect with the viola now unbeaten in twelve. It was another memorable night, which ended 12 straight away defeats to Inter - adding to the feeling that Fiorentina fear no one. The only concern now is how serious the injuries to Babacar, Tomovic and Savic are, as they will all be needed for the run of difficult games to come. Even this, though, cannot dampen what was the ultimate team performance from the boys in purple.
Neto 7 Tomović 7 Savić 7 Gonzalo 6.5 Pasqual 6+ Aquilani 5.5 Badelj 7+ Kurtić 6 Diamanti 6 Baba 6 Iličić 6.5 Salah Montella 6.5— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) March 1, 2015