Stefano Pioli made a few changes to the lineup that was defeated by Sassuolo. Bryan Dabo who saw red was out and replaced by Milan Badelj. Sportiello had also served a suspension was brought back into the starting eleven in place of Bartlomiej Dragowski. Napoli were unchanged after their victory over top of the table Juventus.
Five minutes into the game and Fiorentina thought they had a penalty. Giovanni Simeone was sent clean through and was clearly brought down by Kalidou Koulibaily. The Argentine’s pace and persistence were evident as he got in front of the defender. Originally it was given as a yellow card and a penalty but, after consulting with VAR it was changed to a red card and a free kick, rather than a penalty as the foul occurred just outside the box.
From the resulting free kick, Cristiano Biraghi’s deflected effort was well saved by Pepe Reina in the Napoli goal as he reacted well to the shot. The ball fell to Nikola Milenkovic whose shot was tame and a comfortable second save from Reina.
Despite being a man to the good Fiorentina had struggled to assert the dominance in the opening half hour. The Viola were just lacking that bit of quality to get through the Napoli defence.
On 33 minutes Fiorentina struck, after a Cristiano Biraghi’s clearance upfield turned out to be a perfect through ball to Simeone. He raced through and as calm as you like slotted it through the legs of Reina to open the scoring
Fiorentina were brimming with confidence, minutes after the goal a fine through ball by Chiesa found Marco Benassi on the right-hand side of the box. The angle, however, was too tight as Benassi’s shot flashed past the far post.
Fiorentina were smelling blood and came ever so close to a second. Riccardo Saponara’s shot was deflected right towards Chiesa but the young winger’s shot wasn’t strong enough to beat the Spaniard in goal.
50 minutes into the game saw the first opening for the away side. After a chipped cross from Jose Callejon it was met by a Dries Mertens volley. The Belgian hit it well but, it didn’t have the power to beat Marco Sportiello who held onto the shot.
56 minutes in and Fiorentina had their first effort of the half, Chiesa’s snapshot on the edge of the area almost caught out Reina but he saved well to his right-hand side.
Fiorentina doubled their lead just after the hour mark a corner was flicked on by German Pezzella which deflected towards goal. Reina couldn’t hold onto the shot and Giovanni Simeone was the quickest to react and tap home from close range.
Bruno Gaspar who was introduced in place of Laurini almost had a great impact. After taking on Marco Rui he whipped a great ball into Simeone however, his shot was just wide of the near post.
Giovanni Simeone who had been absolutely brilliant completed his hat-trick in the last minute of stoppage time. He was sent clean through by Federico Chiesa he used his strength to beat off Rui and finished expertly to complete a perfect game from the Argentine.
The consensus for the game is that Giovanni Simeone is amazing. His effort levels are off the charts and with finishing like that he could be something special. Now I’ve calmed down a bit it’s still early in his career but if he can find the consistency he could be huge next season. In context for the season, Fiorentina are right back in the hunt for the Europa League spots. Pioli’s men from top to bottom were the consummate professionals in the way they played and never let their concentration levels drop.
Marco Sportiello: 6 Dealt with everything that came his way which wasn’t a lot due to the dominance of the hosts.
Vincent Laurini: 6 Solid game from the Frenchman, was brought off due to a yellow card in the first half.
German Pezzella: 7 Professional performance from the Argentine didn't put a foot wrong.
Nikola Milenkovic: 7 Was never really tested and looked composed whenever Napoli got forward.
Cristiano Biraghi: 7 Was allowed to get forward at every occasion and looked a threat on the wing. Also played a key part in the first goal
Jordan Veretout: 7 Kept things ticking along nicely, always takes things in his stride.
Milan Badelj: 8 A massive calming influence in the middle of the park, dominated the midfield. Such a classy player and it shone throughout the game.
Marco Benassi: 7 Always offered himself going forward could have even had a goal in the first half.
Riccardo Saponara 6 Had a good first half but just struggled to find that final ball or shot to get a goal.
Federico Chiesa: 7 Similar to Saponara but looked more of a threat, and got an assist at the end for Simeone.
Giovanni Simeone: 10 Absolutely fantastic performance, ran his socks off for the team and got his first ever hat-trick which he thoroughly deserved.
Bruno Gaspar: 6 Put in a fine cross for Simeone wasn’t really tested down the right-hand side.
Valentin Eysseric: 5 Got a silly yellow card, didn’t really offer much coming on but in fairness to him the game was already won.
Sebastian Cristoforo: N/a wasn’t on the pitch long enough to influence the game.