On what was an emotional occasion, Stefano Pioli went back to his strongest lineup after a changed 11 against Crutone. Bryan Dabo got his first start in a Fiorentina jersey. The biggest surprise was that Giovanni Simeone was dropped for Diego Falcinelli who got a rare start.
The home side were looking to end a poor spell of from which has seen the Zebrette lose their last six games.
Fiorentina began the game in a very positive fashion. Federico Chiesa, fresh from scoring a great goal against Crotone, came ever so close from scoring an even better goal. He cut inside from the right-hand side and curled an effort which whistled past the far post, seven minutes into the half
Udinese grew into the game as the match progressed and had the best chance of the opening stages. Stipe Perica who turned well and found a clear route to goal, he forced the first save of the match from Marco Sportiello. The keeper dove well to his left to prevent the hosts from taking the lean on 20 minutes.
28 minutes in, Falcinelli back-heeled the ball brilliantly to Chiesa who was then brought down by Giuseppe Pezzella in the box and gave Luca Banti an easy decision. Jordan Veretout stepped up and sent Bizzari the wrong way, as he coolly slotted it in the left corner. It was the Frenchman’s 5th goal this season and his third from the penalty.
37 minutes into the game and Falcinelli had his best chance to open his account for Fiorentina. The ball found its way to the striker via a Saponara shot but, he couldn’t control the ball and could only stretch to poke the ball towards the goal. It was incredibly tame and any significant contact would have seen The Viola go 2-0 up.
2 minutes into the half and Marco Sportiello produced a brilliant one-handed save to keep The Viola Level. Jakub Jankto who was introduced at the break unleashed a fantastic curling effort from way over 25 yards out, it looked destined for the top right corner but Sportiello brilliantly tipped it over.
On the hour mark, Fiorentina should have doubled their advantage. A corner found Pezzella and Bryan Dabo who were completely unmarked but got in each other’s way. A lack of communication resulted in what would have been a simple header towards goal. It appeared to hit off the head of Pezzella but couldn’t get the contact he was looking for.
Udinese were doing much of the attacking in the second half, Rodrigo De Paul was at the heart of everything good for Udinese and was proving to be a nightmare for the Viola defenders.
Giovanni Simeone was introduced with half an hour left and it proved to be an inspired change from Pioli. After some good work from Chiesa, he played it to Cholito, who bundled his way past two defenders and did incredibly well to keep his cool and fire it expertly home.
Gil Dias who was brought on at the same time as Simeone almost made a big impact as well but, at the wrong end of the pitch. Himself and Milenkovic got into a mix-up and the ball fell to Kevin Lasagna on the edge of the box but he could only blaze it over the bar.
Marco Benassi on 82 minutes pounced on a really poor pass by Danilo, who was trying to knock it back to his keeper. Benassi was clean through but his low shot wasn’t powerful enough and was saved well by Bizzarri.
Substitute Lasagna was having a big impact on the game and trying his best to get his side back into the game. He had a good chance with five minutes left but his header was just wide of the far right corner.
Trying not to get ahead of myself here but things are looking very very good right now. Cholito in fine form, Chiesa a constant threat and Fiorentina are level on points with Atalanta and Sampdoria in seventh. Stefano Pioli has his side all working together and they’re all looking really confident. However, with Roma coming up next weekend it really will be a test if this team has what it takes to continue this fine form.
Marco Sportiello: 7- Fantastic game from Marco who dealt with everything Udinese threw at him. Looked back to his best.
Cristiano Biraghi: 6- Didn't manage to get forward as well as he has in the past, he didn't do much wrong though.
German Pezzella: 7- Solid and assured performance from the Argentine, read the game very well.
Vitor Hugo: 6- Very similar to is centre back partner, defended as a unit very well.
Nikola Milenkovic: 7- Hard to believe this guy is only 20 years of age, in at right back again and considering it’s not his most familiar position he continued to perform.
Bryan Dabo: 8- The best player on the pitch, he was a monster. He seemed to be everywhere.
Jordan Veretout: 7- Took his penalty very well, a key cog in the Viola machine.
Marco Benassi: 5- Wasn't really his night, had a chance to redeem himself but couldn't manage to slip it through the legs of the keeper.
Federico Chiesa: 7- Ran his socks off for the team, just a shame he’s suspended now for Roma because of a silly yellow card.
Riccardo Saponara: 6- Never really got a grip of the game, he’s been in good form recently so we’ll let him off.
Diego Falcinelli: 5- Simply not good enough, Simeone should have started and showed Falcinelli how its done.
Gil Dias: 5- Brought on to add width and pace but struggled to create and was guilty of some wild shots.
Giovanni Simeone: 7- Should have started. Took his goal brilliantly, it’s now two in two for the striker and looking in his best form of the season.