Paulo Sousa named a slightly surprising squad, as Tino Costa got the start over Matías Vecino in midfield. Federico Bernardeschi dropped to the bench in favor of Josip Iličić, while Khouma Babacar drew the start up top. Vincenzo Montella named a number of Viola exes in his lineup, including captain Lorenzo de Silvestri.
Fiorentina started lively enough, with Marcos Alonso uncorking a fearsome drive in the 8th minute that whistledjust wide of old friend Emiliano Viviano's post. Nearly ten minutes later, Ciprian Tătăruşanu made an excellent save on a typically spectacular attempt by Fabio Quagliarella. Not long after, Iličić dumped the ball to Borja Valero on the eighteen and continued his run to the left side of the box, where the Spanish maestro returned the ball to him for a smart first-time finish across Viviano.
That joy, of course, was short lived, as Ricky Álvarez picked up a loose ball, turned, and curled a low 25-yard shot through a crowd and into Tătăruşanu's far corner.
All credit to Sousa, though, for keeping his squad's heads up in the second half. Iličić thumped a tremendous volley that forced Viviano into a tremendous diving save in the 53rd minute. Khouma Babacar pulled up with what looked like a groin injury in the 63rd minute, and was replaced by Mauro Zárate, who immediately had a pop that forced Viviano to tip over his crossbar in the 64th. In the 71st, Joaquin Correa got his marching orders for a cynical pull on Iličić's pants (he'd already been booked), and on the ensuing free kick, his victim stung the crossbar with the ensuing free kick with Viviano well beaten. The Viola kept surging forward for a goal, piling on the pressure, but it was the visitors nearly snatched a win with 6 minutes to go, as Quagliarella struck a tremendous shot from distance that the Viola #12 brilliantly pushed onto the post and to safety.
There was a nice moment between Montella and Valero in the tunnel, and Josip's goal was class, but that's about all the good memories we're going to take out of this one. A tremendous display from Viviano prevented Fiorentina from getting a much needed win; coupled with Roma's 1-4 pasting of Lazio, third place is pretty much completely out of reach, barring some miracles. This also means that Fiorentina haven't won since 21 February (the 2-3 over Atalanta), and should lead to a period of soul-searching for owners, management, and players alike.