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Atalanta 1-1 Fiorentina: Recap and Player ratings

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Despite being down to ten men Fiorentina will feel this one slipped away from their grasp.

Atalanta BC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Pre Match

Despite the poor result at home to Juventus, it was a positive performance and Stefano Pioli has kept faith with the same side and made no changes. Nikola Milenkovic who impressed stays at right back and Marco Sportiello was looking to turn around his poor form and repay the faith shown by his manager.

Atalanta who also despite losing their last game away to Dortmund in Europe would be coming into this one confident. Gian Piero Gasperini, however, has made several changes without regulars Josip Ilicic, Etrit Berisha and Rafael Toloi all dropped to the bench.

First Half

6 minutes into the game and Pioli must have been wondering how his side weren’t one up. After a brilliant through ball by Milan Badelj which sailed over the of the top of the defence, Giovanni Simeone was through and after brilliantly getting away from his man however, he blasted the ball over the top under no pressure. Simeone was stuck in two minds, Jordan Veretout was in acres of space on the edge of the box also and was livid that he didn’t receive the ball.

Fiorentina took the lead on 16 minutes after some brilliant work from Milan Badelj, who started the move and finished it. Like a centre-forward, he was the Viola’s furthest man and drove towards goal. From around 25 yards out his shot forced a good save from Pierluigi Gollini. However, it spilled out to Federico Chiesa wide left who whipped it back into the box, with a deflection off Gianluca Mancini it fell perfectly to Badelj. The Croat expertly drove it home into the bottom left corner give the Viola the lead.

Atalanta BC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
Badelj with a rare goal
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Atalanta were looking to respond,Bryan Cristante on the edge of the area hammered a shot towards goal but the block from German Pezzella was brilliant and denied the midfielder from testing Sportiello.

Fiorentina were much the better side while Atalanta were having more of the ball, The Viola were looking so much more dangerous. On 28 minutes Marco Benassi played a sublime through ball to Simeone, splitting the Atalanta defense. Cholito played it to Gil Dias whose finish was just wide, he attempted to curl it to Gollini’s left but he never got the connection he was looking for.

Atalanta were edging there way back into the game and 37 minutes into the game came close. Cristante who was at the heart of the Atalanta attacks whipped in a fine delivery across the box but Papu Gomez just couldn’t stretch enough to finish the cross.

With four minutes of the half to play Fiorentina came so close to being 2-0 up. After a fine Veretout corner it met the head of Davide Astori who just couldn’t direct his header goal-wards, anything on target and it was surely 2-0 to the away side.

Despite Fiorentina being the better side with less than a minute to play in the half Atalanta were level. After a silly decision from Jordan Veretout to give away a free-kick in a dangerous position the Viola were punished. Andrea Petagna headed home Papu Gomez’s free kick. His header was too much for Sportiello who got a hand to it but couldn’t keep it out.

Atalanta BC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
Petagna beats Biraghi to score.
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Second Half

Both sides had started the half positively and on 53 minutes Davide Astori, drifting forward crossed the ball well which was flicked on by Simeone but fell awkwardly to Chiesa 6 yards out and couldn’t get it under control to get a shot away.

Minutes later, Atalanta came close from another free kick, in almost the same position as their first goal. The same two players involved as Petagna’s header looped dangerously towards goal and forced Sportiello to tip it over. La Dea who had already scored from a dead ball scenario were looking very dangerous from set pieces.

Fiorentina on the hour mark were inches away from regaining the lead after some fine work from Benassi on the right, he played a teasing cross to Diego Falcinelli. The substitute however, couldn’t manage to get any contact on the ball and turn it home.

With 15 minutes left to play Cristiano Biraghi almost scored a goal of the season contender, from around 30-40 yards out. It was a fantastic effort which had Gollini scrambling to his right.

With 6 minutes to play it was an early bath for Nikola Milenkovic who was sent off for two yellow cards in the space of two minutes. While the second was a clear tug on the shirt and a deserved yellow, the first was a poor decision as he looked to get the ball.

Remo Freuler, from the resulting free-kick almost punished The Viola. He was was inches away from making it 2-1 to the home side, the Swiss international’s effort was drilled just wide of the post after the origanl free kick was cleared to the edge of the box.

Ten-man Fiorentina was so close to regaining a shock lead. After Atalanta gave away the ball poorly Veretout pounced and played it to Facinelli who turned and shot but it was blasted over the top. The striker should have done better who is still looking for his first goal.

Post Match

Another draw for the Viola and Pioli will question his side’s ruthlessness. This game displays the lack of depth in the Viola ranks, Simeone who cant seem to score at the moment was replaced with Falcinelli who from the looks of it is not at the level of Babacar. Badelj and Milenkoivc will be both be missing for the next game at home to Chievo, Badelj especially will be a massive miss. He’s been one Fiorentina’s best players over the last few weeks if not the standout player.

Player Ratings

Marco Sportiello- 6 Wasn’t really tested throughout the game but there will be questions if he could have got a stronger hand on the Atalanta goal.

Nikola Milenkovic - 5 Not going to be too harsh on the young defender who will know he was a bit careless getting two yellows in as many minutes.

German Pezzella - 7 Very strong showing from the Argentine did a lot of things right which don’t get noticed. Himself and Astori seem to have a great partnership.

Davide Astori- 7 Solid performance from the captain, even offered himself going forward somewhat effectively at times.

Cristiano Biraghi- 5 Has to better with the goal, he’s been bullied off the ball by Petagna and let him get a clean header at goal.

Marco Benassi- 6.5 A very good outing from the midfielder who played some fantastic passes in the first half, was unlucky to be subbed off although he had been booked.

Milan Badelj- 8 Did that important thing which it seems no one else can do a the moment and score. Very assured performance all round despite some sloppy passing at times but we’ll let him off for that.

Jordan Veretout - 6.5 Very similar to Benassi, possess great vision and some very accurate corners. The midfield trio becoming a very strong unit.

Gil Dias - 5 Nothing ever went his way, was wasteful in possession and couldn't get anything going. Very surprised to see him play over 80 minutes.

Federico Chiesa- 6.5 A very good assist for the goal but was given a free role at times which didn't really suit him. He’s much better out on the wings where he can run at defenders.

Giovanni Simeone- 5 Has to score in the opening ten minutes, if Fiorentina are going to reach the top eight, the team need a goalscorer and it’s hard to see Simeone getting many goals.

Bench:

Diego Falcinelli- 5 Had some chances including a brilliant opening in the last few minutes of the game, where he has to hit the target.

Bryan Dabo- 6 struggled to keep possession at times, nice to see him get on the pitch but didn’t offer much.

Cyril Thereau- N/a should have been brought on about 20 minutes earlier, as a result he wasn't able to make an impact as Fiorentina were down to 10 men.