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Fiorentina Femminile back to winning ways

With a three week break before their next Serie A game, an important three points for the Viola

Our two goalscorers, Louise Quinn and Daniela Sabatino
Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

An away trip down south to Pink Bari on Saturday gave Fiorentina a much needed three points. Antonio Cincotta’s team gave a good performance here which will really help their confidence and moves them a little further up the table.

The ship had been steadied somewhat since the international break. Having suffered three league losses in a row, a 6-1 Cup win away to Riozzese had been followed up by a 2-2 draw with Roma last weekend. The next step was getting more vital points on the board, and this away trip to Bari looked like the perfect opportunity to achieve this.

Bari had won only one league game so far, the opening day win over fellow strugglers Napoli was followed by six defeats in a row. They had also managed just two goals in their seven games. But as we all know, there are no easy games in football, and matches are not won on paper or by statistics.

An early goal was what Fiorentina were hoping for, to settle those nerves and get some confidence back. And an early goal is what they got. When Stephanie Breitner floated a free-kick into the box in the eight minute, there rising high to meet it was our towering Irish defender Louise Quinn. Her header left Bari goalkeeper Rebecca Difronzo helpless and Quinn’s first goal for the Viola was just the start Fiorentina needed.

They did have a great chance to double their lead only six minutes later when the referee awarded a penalty for handball. Daniela Sabatino stepped up, looking to score her eight league goal in eight games this season, but her effort was pushed away by Difronzo.

Sabatino did make amends, and did get that all important second goal in the 33rd minute. Using great control to take the ball down with her first touch she then lobbed the keeper with a beautifully intelligent finish.

The goal came just three minutes after Fiorentina had lost midfelder Michela Catena through injury. She was replaced by Tessel Middag, and let’s hope that Catena’s injury isn’t too serious, as she was just returning to top form after her knee operation.

The second half brought no further goals, with Difronzo dealing well with any Fiorentina chances. There were three more changes in the Viola line-up during that second half. Just after the hour mark a double substitution, with Lana Clelland replacing Marta Mascarello and Valery Vigilucci coming on for Martina Zanoli. Our new American signing Abigail Kim got to see a few minutes action, coming on near the end for the yellow carded Martina Piemonte.

After the game, manager Antonio Cincotta was understandably very satisfied with the three points and also with the performance from the team. He also reiterated the point that this is a very new squad with lots of new faces, and they will need time before it all comes together properly.

This was something that Louise Quinn had also been keen to stress in our recent interview. The squads pre-season preparation had been far from ideal, with the team only getting to play one of the three warm-up matches that had been programmed. This squad has lost some very important players,but it has managed to bring in top quality replacements. We just need to be a little more patient and given time I think this team can get back to challenging at the top of the table.

We have a proven goalscorer in Daniela Sabatino, she has scored goals wherever she’s played, including the Italian national team. We may also have seen another less obvious goal scoring option in this win at Bari. Fiorentina can definitely exploit the height and heading ability of defender Louise Quinn, especially from set-pieces. The Irish international has scored 11 times for her country and back when she played her club football in Ireland with Dublin club Peamount United, she was actually more familiar with a more attacking midfield position. She even scored a hat-trick for the club in the Champions League.

This win took Fiorentina ahead of both Inter and Roma and they are now level on points with 4th placed Empoli. Juventus continued their winning run at Florentia, not without a struggle though. They found themselves a goal down at half-time, and only managed to win this one thanks to a penalty scored by Cristiana Girelli, keeping her level on top of the goal scoring leader-board with Daniela Sabatino.

Sassuolo kept up their excellent form this season with a 4-1 win over Verona. They had suffered their only loss of the season last time out at Juventus, but it was business as usual today, with their Czech midfielder Kamila Dubcová again in the goals. She scored the opening two goals of the game to take her total for the season so far to 7. Even more impressive when you consider that she only managed 2 goals last season in twice the amount of games as she’s played this season.

Verona did pull it back to 2-1 with a penalty from Francesca Papaleo, but the sending off of defender Sofia Meneghini didn’t help matters for the away side, even though Dubcová did miss her chance of a hat-trick when her poorly hit penalty was saved by former Viola keeper Francesca Durante. Valeria Pirone then made it 3-1 for Sassuolo with her 5th goal of the season before another penalty finished off the game, this time the 16 year old Maltese forward Haley Bugeja making no mistake from the spot.

This has been a sensational first season in Serie A for the teenager, already with 5 goals from just 6 appearances. She has also made 2 appearances for the Malta national team, scoring one goal. Definitely a player to look out for this season and for the future.

Empoli and Inter played out a 1-1 draw, Cecilia Prugna’s penalty cancelling out Gloria Marinelli’s goal for the away side, her 5th this season. Napoli gained their first point of the season today with a 0-0 draw away to San Marino.

The final game of this weeks round of matches saw second place Milan take on Roma. After a poor first half, Milan were able to take control when Roma had their goalkeeper Rachele Baldi sent off ten minutes after the break. The keeper had already taken a short kick out but when Milan’s Valentina Giacinti looked like getting to the ball before Roma’s Manuela Giuliano, Baldi felt she had no option but to take a second touch of the ball, judging this as obstructing a clear chance of a goal the referee showed the unlucky keeper the red card.

It still took a penalty for Milan to finally make the break through nearly 15 minutes later, Giacinti grabbing her 7th goal of the season. This narrow win keeps Milan in second spot, three points behind the leaders. It also sets up a massive game for Fiorentina in their next Serie A game.

Before that, next week the Viola travel to San Marino in the Italian Cup, and with the international break to follow, it means they have 3 weeks to prepare for the arrival of Milan in Florence on December 6th.

A draw will be enough to see Fiorentina advance in the Cup but Antonio Cincotta will surely be looking to build on this current good form, and another win and an impressive performance would be the perfect build up to that clash with Milan. There are 8 points between the sides at present, but it’s still early days, and this will be a great chance for Fiorentina to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with this season.

League Table:

Juventus 24 points Milan 21 Sassuolo 19 Empoli 13 Fiorentina 13 Roma 12 Inter 11 Florentia 9 Verona 7 San Marino 5 Bari 3 Napoli 1