Fiorentina's turbulent 2015/2016 ends in Rome with an entertaining victory that means little but shows us some things we may have to look forward to next year.
Neither team had much to play for, giving Sousa an opportunity to start Luca Lezzerini in goal, alongside other moves such as giving Mauro Zarate a start up front for his recent workrate, and giving Matias Fernandez a 30th birthday start in what may be his last game for Fiorentina.
Lazio got off to a good start with an immediate impressive goal from Senad Lulic. Fiorentina took control of possession soon after, although it looked like it was going to be another one of those days after Zarate blew a one on one after breaking through on a Matias Vecino through ball followed by some nice dribbles. Soon after Marcos Alonso had to be replaced by Facundo Roncaglia due to injury.
However, for once the hard work and possession played off - 30 minutes in, Fiorentina got a free kick taken by Zarate, which lead to nice chances by Federico Bernardeschi and Mati, which was finally finished by Vecino outside the box. It is fitting that Vecino, who had an excellent game, would finally score his first goal of the season in the last game, after countless bad luck with his long range bombs. Fiorentina continued to dominate, and Bernardeschi (who looked good in a more forward role) made it 1-2 after a nice cross by Cristian Tello.
Tello would continue to make an impact by scoring himself 5 minutes later, with a one man fast break from Fiorentina's half. Overall, despite the early Lazio goal, the first half was mostly the story of Vecino, Mati, Bernardeschi, Tello, and Zarate slicing up Lazio's woeful defense, and the score could have been much uglier for the home team.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were more of the same, however after that, Fiorentina allowed themselves to be pinned around their own box, as Lazio subs Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (of almost-Fiorentina fame) and Felipe Anderson gave the hosts new life.
Mati and Vecino exploited Lazio's aggression to make it 1-4 as Vecino doubled his goal scoring for the year. However, Lazio managed to make it a game after Gonzalo Rodriguez conceded a questionable penalty following a foul that looked to be just out of the box. This enabled Miroslav Klose to end his Lazio career with one more home goal and give Fiorentina fans another reason to dislike him. The penalty gave Lazio even more life, and the rest of the game was characterized by an onslaught spearheaded by Anderson and Keita. A combination of luck and good play by Lezzerini (who showed he probably deserves a chance to compete for the starting job next year) prevented Lazio from making it a one goal game.
Overall this was a fun game, as both teams showed woefully incompent defensive lines and far more competent forward play, even if there was numerous missed sitters, with Zarate being the biggest offender for the Viola. This game does not make up for the miserable 2016 that Fiorentina had, but it was encouraging to see some good play from some of the younger players, including Vecino, Bernardeschi, Lezzerini, and Tello, assuming he is back.
Lazio: (4-3-3) Marchetti; Konko, Bisevac, Gentiletti, Lulic; Parolo, Cataldi, Onazi; Candreva, Klose, Keita
Goals: Lulic 2', Klose 74' [Pen.]
: (3-4-2-1) Lezzerini; Tomovic, Rodriguez, Astori; Tello, Badelj, Vecino, Alonso; Bernardeschi, Fernandez; Zarate
Goals: Vecino 31', Bernardeschi 40', Tello 45', Vecino 70'
Stay tuned for the full recap later; until then feel free to discuss this game, and the now concluded season, below.