It may have been a friendly; Barcelona may have been missing Neymar and Messi, but the fact still stands -- Fiorentina beat Champions League holders Barcelona at the Artemio Franchi tonight 2-1. A hugely entertaining first half looked more like a competitive game than a friendly; the viola playing very well on the counter, despite large amounts of possession from the Catalan team. Two early goals from Federico Bernadeschi, some fine saves from Ciprian Tătăruşanu and some heroic defending from the Gonzalo Rodriguez/Facundo Roncaglia duo was ultimately enough to seal the victory.
Aside from the surprise result, there were many positives to be taken from tonight's performance, which was new manager Paulo Sousa's first at home.
Before the game even started, transfer target Davide Astori was spotted in the stands, serving as confirmation that he is soon to be unveiled as a Fiorentina player.
In addition to his two superbly taken goals, Bernadeschi looked full of confidence and ready for the new season in his new number 10 jersey.
Tătăruşanu was in confident form, even after taking a blow to the face from Luis Suarez' forearm. The Romanian looks determined to step up to the plate following Neto's departure this summer.
Giuseppe Rossi carried on his path to recovery tonight in front of the home fans and came close to scoring twice: The first by volleying just over and the second shooting just wide, when a touch more match sharpness would have led to a goal.
Borja Valero looked confident, employed in a slightly deeper role by Sousa and made Sergio Busquets look like a chump:
To think about
The defence looked shaky at times, despite Gonzalo's attempt to organise the back line, and it is clear that the squad needs further strengthening in order to be able to compete next season.
For now, though, let us enjoy the moment - forget about all the nonsense that has come with this pre-season and look to the next ICC challenge as the squad travel to England for the match with Premier League champions Chelsea on Wednesday.