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Cesena 2-0 Fiorentina: Three things we learned

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Hm. Hhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. This was, um, not good.

Almost ready.
Almost ready.
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Fiorentina sputtered badly in this warm-up match against Serie B's Cesena in a testimonial for former chairman Dino Manuzzi. In fairness, the Cavallucci Marini were probably quite a bit more geed up for this one than the Viola, who fielded a team cmoprised almost entirely of players who spent last season elsewhere on loan. Still, though, it gives Pantaleo Corvino and Paulo Sousa a lot to think about.

First half

Cesena (4-2-3-1): Agazzi; Balzano, Capelli, Perticone, Falasco; Cascione, Schiavone; Kone, Garritano, Ragusa; Rodriguez

Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Diks, Bagadur, Mancini, Zanon; Diakhate, Salifu; Minelli, Bangu, Baez; Babacar

The Viola started strong, with Simone Minelli providing a lovely pass to captain (which was pretty cool) Khouma Babacar for a fierce drive that barely missed. It was the hosts, though, who broke through in the 9th minute: Nicola Falasco got loose down the left side of the Viola defense and crossed in for Antonino Ragusa to tap in after losing both centerbacks. The goal clearly gave the Bianconeri confidence, and they consistently threatened on the break for the remainder of the half. Fiorentina's best moments came from the lively Minelli and from Kevin Diks motoring tirelessly up the wing.

Second half

Cesena (4-2-3-1): Agazzi; Balzano, Capelli, Perticone, Falasco; Cascione, Schiavone; Kone, Ciano, Ragusa; Djuric

Fiorentina (4-2-3-1): Tatarusanu; Diks, Bagadur, Mancini, Zanon; Diakhate, Salifu; Minelli, Bangu, Baez; Babacar

The period had hardly begun when Cesena struck again. This time, it was Camillo Ciano who shook loose down the left side and sent in a hopeful cross, which Gianluca Mancini completely bungled. Milan Djuric strolled in and duly slotted home past a despairing Ciprian Tătăruşanu. Mancini handed Ciano a chance for the third, but the winger misplaced his shot with just the keeper to beat. The rest of the half was mostly pretty even, although Fiorentina had some dangerous moves through debutante Hernán Toledo and substitute Ianis Hagi.

Three things we learned

1. Defenders are very important. Gianluca Mancini was sent back to the Primavera after his loan to Virtus Entella in Serie B ended up being too much too soon. Similarly, Luca Zanon looked badly out of place after spending nearly all of last year on the bench in the Lega Pro. Preseason friendlies are a good time to try out the youngsters, but these kids should be coming on for the last 20 minutes, not starting, even in low-pressure situations like this.

2. Hernán Toledo may amount to something. The first thing you notice about him is that he's built like a drinking straw. The second thing is that he is really, really fast. His pace, acceleration, and natural tendency to stay wide and stretch play, then beat his man off the dribble, should fit this squad very well. He may need some time before he's ready for Serie A defenses, but he's got some talent.

3. Fiorentina will look better than this. Seriously, this is not a big deal. Sousa played a total of 5 players who made appearances with Fiorentina last year. Of those, one was the goalkeeper, and the others came in late in the second half. The guys who did play were all either with the Primavera, loaned out in Serie B or the Lega Pro, or playing in Argentina, Uruguay, or the Netherlands. This isn't who we're hoping to see carry Fiorentina to glory. This does, however, highlight the need for depth players: guys who aren't starters, but also aren't teenage prospects.