After finishing 2020 in style, with a win in the Champions League, 2021 has started off with another victory, and now there’s a Supercoppa Final to play.
Fiorentina will have welcomed the break from Serie A action, their last match came between the two legs of their Champions League clash with Sparta Praha, an away draw at Empoli. Fiorentina had started the season well, winning their first three games, but then came three defeats in a row. Since then they’ve recorded two draws, a win and a loss, which leaves them in 5th place in the table, almost at the halfway point of the season. There is a lot of ground to make up, especially on the top two teams, Juventus and Milan.
Their next league game comes on January 17th at home to San Marino, but before they get their focus back on Serie A, there’s a cup to play for! It’s been in the cup competitions where Fiorentina have really enjoyed themselves this season. In the Coppa Italia they topped their group winning both games comfortably. A 6-1 win at Serie B side Riozzese was followed by a 5-1 win over San Marino.
The team is still in the Champions League of course. After a 2-2 draw at home to Slavia, with goals from Louise Quinn and Daniela Sabatino, they faced a tough task to get a win in Prague, but this is not a team that gives up. That second leg was already into added time, the final seconds ticking down on what looked like being a 0-0 draw, when up popped Sabatino to grab a dramatic last gasp winner.
We will have to wait until February to find out who Fiorentina’s opponents will be in the next round, but the new year started with a slightly different Supercoppa to contest. This is usually just a straight final of course, with the Serie A champions taking on the Coppa Italia winners, but as last seasons Coppa Italia never got to be assigned, it was decided that the top four teams in the league table would challenge for the Supercoppa.
Divided into two semi-finals, Juventus vs Roma and Fiorentina vs Milan, both of these games took place on Wednesday January 6th in Chiavari. Fiorentina’s last defeat had come a month ago, at home to Milan, so here was a chance for revenge, and more importantly an opportunity to reach a cup final. Preparations weren’t helped by the ongoing and never-ending Covid situation. The Viola lost not only three of their players for this game, Stephanie Breitner, Camilla Forcinella and Martina Piemonte, but they also had to do without their manager Antonio Cincotta. Added to this list was the injured Marta Mascarello and the suspended Greta Adami.
With Nicola Melani taking over on the bench, Fiorentina got off to a bad start when Valentina Giacinti opened the scoring for Milan after just six minutes. Fiorentina almost had an equalizer from a corner kick, Martina Zanoli’s headed ball bounced up for the ever dangerous Louise Quinn, who’s header was just over the bar. Tatiana Bonetti then had a chance, as she managed to hold on to the ball with the Milan defenders all around her, but her final shot never troubled Mária Korenčiová in the Milan goal.
Still a goal down at the break, and in the second-half Refiloe Jane had a long range shot which Katja Schroffenegger just managed to get her fingertips to. Just over ten minutes had passed in the second-half when Zanoli sent in a cross which went past Sabatino and her marker Giorgia Spinelli on the near post but waiting at the far post was Abigail Kim who got ahead of Linda Tucceri to send the ball into the Milan net.
Less than ten minutes later and Fiorentina went ahead. A corner from Bonetti was met by the head of Louise Quinn, and this time she made no mistake, a clever header into the hard ground which bounced past the desperate dive of Korenčiová.
Louise Quinn scored the winner against AC Milan tonight, sending Fiorentina into a Supercoppa final against Juventus. pic.twitter.com/JeHEHKnctV— Paul Dollery (@PaulDollery) January 6, 2021
This was the Irish defender’s third goal for the club this season. The game could have been safe when Kim’s cross into the area was met by Bonetti, but her shot, almost from the penalty spot, sailed over.
Fiorentina’s defense and Schroffenegger saw off any danger from Milan after that. There was some late action when goal-scorer Giacinti nutmegged Frederikke Thøgersen on the wing and her run towards the Fiorentina penalty area was only stopped by a foul from Cláudia Neto which resulted in a yellow card and a free-kick on the edge of the box. Tucceri sent her free into the danger area but Verónica Boquete was too high to worry the Viola keeper. One last attack from Milan when Federica Rizza sent a high ball into the box, Boquete headed it on but Schroffenegger was there to send the ball behind for a corner.
Earlier that day Juventus had managed to overcome Roma to also reach the final. They needed extra-time to do so, and while they have impressed in the league this season they made hard work of this game. Roma probably deserved to win this in all honesty, they missed an early penalty to take the lead. Juve then took the lead through Barbara Bonansea, her initial shot was saved by Camelia Ceasar but it came back off Bonansea and into the net. Roma did manage to level the game before the break.
The Roma goalkeeper Ceasar was involved again in the last minute of normal time, when Maria Alves was through on goal all alone, Ceasar came out and got her hand to the attempted chip by Alves. Unfortunately she was just outside the box by then, and was shown the red card, and Roma would be down to ten for extra-time. An extra-time that was delayed due to a heavy shower of hailstones at the end of the ninety minutes. This also brought the yellow ball into play.
In the end Juventus managed to get the better of Roma, no surprise that it was Serie A top scorer Cristiana Girelli who bagged the winning goal. Which means it’s a repeat of the last two Supercoppa finals, Fiorentina vs Juventus. Last years was won by Juventus while the Viola won the previous edition, their first ever Supercoppa win. This will be Fiorentina’s seventh final in a row between Coppa Italia and Supercoppa.
Our previous meeting this season in Serie A was a disappointing 4-0 loss in Turin, which wasn’t helped by the early sending off of Louise Quinn, but Fiorentina have improved since then. Also our record in cup competitions, as already mentioned, is very impressive this season, and this is a team with a never say die attitude. It’s set up to be a very exciting final on Sunday, again in Chiavari, with kick-off at 12:30pm CET. Forza Viola!