With a touch of deeply unseasonable snow coming down and the visibility rather limited, Vincenzo Italiano was forced to field Lorenzo Venuti at centerback and keep Nicolás González, still not fully fit, on the bench; Alfred Duncan replaced Gaetano Castrovilli in the middle. Stefano Pioli picked Matteo Gabbia at the back and Zlatan Ibrahimović up front, but otherwise brought out the XI we expected.
AC Milan had the ball in the net after 5 minutes, but Zlatan Ibrahimović was correctly flagged offside. Despite the makeshift Fiorentina defense, they played together brilliantly, catching the Rossoneri offside 5 times in the opening period. While Rafael Leão came close a few times through his dribbling, the breakthrough came at the other end after Ciprian Tătărușanu (an ex-Fiorentina player) made a shocking error to let Alfred Duncan open the scoring.
Milan mostly dominated after that but didn’t create much, relying on long balls, long shots, and Leão’s dynamism for everything, although Ibrahimović did somehow miss a point blank header wide. It felt like the hosts just wanted to get into the half and regroup, but Riccardo Saponara struck an absolute wonder goal in stoppage time to double the lead against his old team. Dušan Vlahović’s little layoff was very nice, but that’s the best strike you’ll see this year.
Pick that out— Sacha Pisani (@Sachk0) November 20, 2021
Saponara has scored more Serie A goals against Milan than vs any other side in the comp (4).
His first 8 Serie A games were for Milan, with those coming under 3 diff managers (Allegri, Seedorf & Inzaghi).#FiorentinaMilan @OptaPaolo
As you’d expect, Milan came out firing, but it was Dušan Vlahović who struck first, leaving Matteo Gabbia in his dust as he raced to meet a Dunca pass over the top before rounding Tătărușanu and slotting hit home.
Moments later, though, Giacomo Bonaventura passed it straight to Ibrahimović at the back, and the Swede kept his composure to whack it home despite his surprise.
6 minutes later, he scored a better one, meeting a low Theo Hernández cross and crushing it home first time.
Milan threw numbers forward and lobbed a steady stream of high balls into the box, hoping that Ibrahimović or Olivier Giroud could overpower the cobbled-together Fiorentina defense, but they left themselves open and Nicolás González took advantage when he hunted down Hernández in his own half, dispossessed him, and then let Vlahović icily finish it into the bottom corner for his second of the game and 10th of the season.
Dusan Vlahovic's second goal for Fiorentina against AC Milan to make it 4-2.pic.twitter.com/bALRZl3GsE— Sam Street (@samstreetwrites) November 20, 2021
Because a game this wild couldn’t wrap up there, the final action was an own goal. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Ibrahimović rose over Igor and looped a header off the bar and then off the desperately unlucky Venuti, who reacted with a massive grin; he couldn’t have done anything else, but also maybe he enjoyed denying a Zlat trick.
Serie A— FutbolGol12 (@Gol12Futbol) November 20, 2021
Gol de Milán
Venuti ⚽ Autogol
Goals: Duncan 15’, Saponara 45’+1 (ass. Vlahović), Vlahović 60’ (ass. Duncan) 85’ (ass. González); Ibrahimović 62’ 67’ (ass. Hernández), Venuti OG 90’+6
Cards: Castrovilli 90’+4; Hernández 90’+4
The result moves Fiorentina into 6th place, even on points with both Lazio and Juventus. It also gives them their best win of the year, which is even more impressive when you realize that they did it without 3 of their 4 centerbacks. Vincenzo Italiano, take a bow. They now embark on a run of 10 straight games against teams in 10th place or lower, so it’s time to start harvesting maximum points to keep that spot near the top and keep climbing.