With two wins a row, it’s another unchanged line up for Stefano Pioli with a 4-2-3-1 featuringGiovanni Simeone leading the line for the 10th occasion and looking to improve on his 2 goals this season, with Babacar waiting in the wings. Marco Benassi started against his former side for the first time, no doubt looking to prove a point to Sinisia Mihalovic who let him go in the summer. The away side have many injuries including star striker Andrea Belotti. Torino line up in the same system as Fiorentina with Umar Sadiq leading the line for only the third time this season.
Despite some very early pressure from Torino, Fiorentina were the first to have an effort on goal. The Viola’s top goalscorer Cyril Thereau was sent clean through but never got the contact on the shot he was looking for to test Salvatore Sirigu.
Cyril Thereau’s night was in fact cut very short. What must have been some sort of innocuous injury forced him off, as it wasn’t for any noticeable challenge by a Torino player. He was replaced by fellow Frenchman Valentin Eysseric on 18 minutes.
On 23 minutes Christiano Biraghi skipped past Iago Falque as if the winger wasn’t even there. The full back put in a delicious ball which was begging to be hit home. However, Chiesa’s diving header was put well over.
Goalkeepers these days love to play from the back and Marco Sportiello has been brilliant at it this season, but it so almost cost Fiorentina goal. Lackadaisically he passed it straight to Falque on the edge of the area. If it wasnt for Davide Astori’s intervention, the Spaniard would have no doubt opened the scoring.
Just before the half-hour mark, it was 1-0 to the hosts. After some tenacious work from Federico Chiesa to findGiovanni Simeone, the striker brilliantly played through Marco Benassi. The former Torino man emphatically smashed it home to score his second goal in as many games. Unlike Cyril Thereau, Benassi respectfully did not celebrate against his previous employers.
Two minutes later Torino were so close to equalizing. Following a corner, it was helped back into the box and fell incredibly kind for Torino captain Emiliano Moretti, whose shot struck the bar. It was a real let-off for the home side who had fallen asleep.
It seemed as if conceding a goal had woken Il Toro up. It was almost an ex-player scoring against his old side again as Adem Ljajić, blasted a shot towards Sportiello’s near post but it was inches wide from leveling the score.
Minutes into the second half and somehow it wasn’t 1-1. A superb ball through by Ljajić sent in M'Baye Niang who smacked it off the bar. It looked as if it was easier to score than miss. A huge opportunity missed for the away side.
Fiorentina, however, responded quickly through their main man Chiesa. After twisting and turning the winger struck a venomous shot with his left foot, which was just too central, forcing Sirigu to parry clear.
The Viola minutes into the half almost came up with a goal of the season contender. Simeone wide left drilled it into Chiesa who smartly flicked it back to Eysseric on the edge of the area. On the half-volley, the Frenchman just couldn't keep it down.
The more the game progressed the more open it became. Torino again should have capitalized, this time through Ljajić on the right in acres of space, who played the ball towards Niang in the six-yard box. It looked for all the world like he would just tap it in but a flying German Pezzella came out of nowhere to block the ball and prevent an easy goal.
Just after the hour mark, it should have been 2-0 to the hosts. After Chiesa’s initial shot was saved it looked as if Simeone would slide in and score to what was an empty net. Antonio Barreca did just enough to put off the Argentine who still somehow fired over.
Simeone, however, was not deterred. After linking up with Benassi, the striker got the ball on the edge of the area and on the half volley absolutely smashed it the top right corner with the outside of his boot on 66 minutes. It was a huge confidence booster for Simeone who desperately needed that goal.
2-0 up and Fiorentina were in full flight. After a flowing move Babacar, who had just replaced Simeone, forced Sirigu into a smart stop. The ball fell out wide to Veretout who crossed it into Chiesa. 3 yards out the winger was pushed over by Barreca, while it did look very soft the referee adjudged it to be a penalty. With being a clear goalscoring opportunity it had to be a straight red card. Khouma Babacar stepped up and as cool as you like slotted it home to make it 3-0.
With fifteen minutes to go, it was threatening to be a rout. Babacar was oozing with confidence and was clean through on goal. From 25 yards out, he curled his shot inches past the right post.
Just like the game against Benevento, Babacar was making a real difference. While he may not like it, he is a super sub is really benefiting the team.
Six goals and zero conceded in the last two games. Football is fun, isn't it? Fiorentina are up to the dizzy heights of 7th. Although it's definitely too early to be thinking about a European surge just yet, what is to be sure that Pioli has found his starting line up maybe bar Thereau, who was injured. Both strikers scoring also makes their battle for the starting spot even more interesting as to who will play next week against Crotone on Sunday afternoon.
Marco Sportiello - 6: Not his best night. Some very shaky passes from the back which could have been costly.
Vincent Laurini - 6: Solid performance from the right back although he did let Ljajić roam free a tad too many times.
German Pezzella -7: Gets a seven for his brilliant block alone to stop the game from being 1-1.
Davide Astori - 6: Cant give any of the defense less than a six for keeping a clean sheets but Astori and co should thank the bar for that.
Cristiano Biraghi - 7: Good performance from the full back who looks as if he’s getting better and better.
Milan Badelj - 6: Very typical Badelj performance. Keeps the team ticking.
Jordan Veretout - 6: Starting to really like the midfield trio with Veretout and Badelj at the heart of it.
Marco Benassi - 8: Brilliant from Benassi. Slowly becoming a key player in the side. Took his goal brilliantly.
Cyril Thereau -n/a: Injured early on and barely featured.
Federico Chiesa - 7: Lively performance. Was heart of many good attacks. Keep it up Fede.
Giovanni Simeone - 8: Thrilled for Simeone to get a goal. He so badly needed it. What a goal it was too. With a perfect assist, it was arguably his performance best in a Viola shirt.
Valentin Eysseric- 6: Didnt have the same impact as Benassi and Chiesa but nice to see him get good minutes. Always neat and tidy.
Khouma Babacar- 7: Massively important to the team from the bench. Adds much needed energy and quality.
Bruno Gaspar - 6: Wasn't on for too long but always wanted to get forward and beyond Chiesa on the right.