The "reaction" that we hoped for all week was over half an hour. Not that any one really expected Fiorentina to overcome an imperious 3 goal aggregate deficit against the reigning Europa League Champions, Sevilla. But all week we heard optimism from Vincenzo Montella, social media fanfare from the official Fiorentina accounts, and the fans were with the team every step of the way, hoping for a prideful and disciplined performance. Unfortunately, neither of those two adjectives would fit what they saw at the Artemio Franchi Thursday night.
The first twenty minutes were more than promising (unfortunately, in retrospect). Sevilla threatened a bit on the counter, but Fiorentina were running things as they had early on in Spain. Salah, Ilicic, and Joaquin were finding spaces reasonably well, and while shooting chances were rare, the team seemed focused and the crowd was buoyant. But after Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico somehow kept out a Gonzalo Rodriguez bullet header out of the net around the 20 minute mark, things started to go downhill for Fiorentina. In the 22nd minute, disaster struck, and some criminally inattentive set piece marking meant that the ball fortuitously fell to Carlos Bacca in front of Neto, and he was the first to react, roofing the goal that meant the Viola had to score 5 to go through. Only 7 minutes later, even worse defending resulted in Fiorentina conceding from an apparently harmless free kick near midfield, with defender Daniel Carrico tapping home after Jose Maria Basanta screwed a clearance into his path.
HT FIORENTINA 0 Sevilla 2 pic.twitter.com/Ob7k4n6rMV— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) May 14, 2015
Just like in the first leg, Fiorentina were punished - or punished themselves - extravagantly for their missed chances. The cherry on the *inappropriate word* cake was Josip Ilicic stepping up to sky a penalty in the second half, a penalty that could have at least given the home fans a goal to cheer about. Instead the Curva Fiesole - debatably - chose to mock and whistle their own team for much of the rest of the game. Montella struck a defiant tone in the post match press conference, which certainly has done little to endear most fans either to him or the team after a thoroughly disappointing European semifinal. While there will be plenty of time to reflect and be happy with this season's run in Europe, this is a blue time to be a Fiorentina fan. So here's a nice *chin chin*, this one is to hoping for a perfect 9 from 9 to close out the season, and then a great summer of buying players and friendlies! Next round is on me.
Neto 5.5 Savić 5 Gonzalo 5.5 Basanta 4.5 Alonso 5 Mati 5.5 Pek 5 Borja 5 Joaquin 5.5 Salah 6 Iličić ➡️ Montella 5.5 Badelj 6 Pasqual 5.5— Viola Nation (@Viola_Nation) May 14, 2015