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Fiorentina’s history and good record at Verona

A look back at our clashes over the years with Hellas at the Bentegodi

ACF Fiorentina v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Fiorentina have a positive record against Hellas at the Bentegodi. In our 30 Serie A clashes there, we have won 14 and only lost eight. It took Verona 13 attempts before they finally recorded a home win against the Viola, our first game there took place in 1957 and it wasn’t until 1983 when Verona managed to taste victory.

A year later, in that historic season of Verona’s first, and only, Scudetto win, they recorded another home win over Fiorentina when the sides met in round seven in October. Hellas were unbeaten after the first six games, and were the early leaders, but Fiorentina were just two points behind at this stage. Verona after winning the opening three games, then faced three matches against Inter, Juventus and Roma, and this was expected to bring them back down to Earth. Instead, they were now having to be taken seriously, especially after defeating the reigning champions, Juventus.

Verona went in at the break with a well deserved 2-0 lead against Fiorentina. The breakthrough came from an own goal, when Silvano Fontolan’s header from a corner was deflected into his own net by Luca Moz. Five minutes before the interval and the home side doubled their lead when Giuseppe Galderisi dove to head home Domenico Volpati’s pass across the goal, and Giovanni Galli was beaten again. Heated exchanges in the Fiorentina dressing room at half time led to a delay of five minutes before the game could restart.

Giancarlo De Sisti sent on Claudio Pellegrini in place of Daniel Passarella. The game was reopened with just over ten minutes played in the second half, when Eraldo Pecci scored direct from a corner. Claudio Garella had finally conceded a goal after 431 minutes. Fiorentina were unable to get another one past the Verona keeper however, with Garella pulling off a fine save from a Sócrates free kick. Despite the win, Hellas manager Osvaldo Bagnoli was furious after the game for how his team had almost thrown away the two points after leading 2-0. Verona of course, went on to shock Italian football by winning the Serie A title that season. On their way to the Scudetto they also completed their only double win over Fiorentina when they came away from Florence with a 3-1 win in March.

The 1980’s was the best period for Verona against Fiorentina, when they recorded five of their total eight home wins. They even managed a win at the Bentegodi in the 1989/90 season, thanks to a late Marino Magrin goal, despite ending the season relegated, just five years after winning the league title. After just one season away, they returned to Serie A for the 1991/92 campaign, and the two struggling sides served up a five-goal thriller near the end of the season.

Fiorentina came out on top, 3-2, at the Bentegodi, which all but condemned Verona to another relegation. In a Fiorentina side without new signing Gabriel Batistuta, it was another new arrival that season, Marco Branca, who stole the headlines. It was his hat-trick which saw off Verona, where Pietro Fanna’s penalty eight minutes from time had given the home side some hope of taking something from the game. The Viola side also included both Stefano Pioli and Giuseppe Iachini, future Fiorentina managers, while an ex-Viola, Celeste Pin was on the Verona team. With just four games left to play after this defeat, Verona quickly ran out of time and finished eight points from safety by the end.

The following season it was Fiorentina who suffered a shock relegation, and the sides played out a scoreless draw at the Bentegodi towards the end of the Serie B season in 1993/94. Fiorentina also failed to win their remaining three games but had already done enough to end the season top of the table and back in Serie A. Verona needed to wait until the 1996/97 season for their return to the top flight, which again lasted only one season. One of only six wins for Hellas that season came against the Viola at the Bentegodi in February.

6,000 Fiorentina fans travelled to Verona to see new signing Andrei Kanchelskis make his debut. After just one minute of play, the away fans were silenced by an own goal from Giulio Falcone. It took only six more minutes before Batistuta headed home from a corner to level the game. Things stayed this way until injury time at the end of the match. Alessandro Manetti was Luigi Cagni’s only change in the second half, and it was his late free kick which gave Verona a 2-1 win. This defeat piled the pressure on Claudio Ranieri, but Vittorio Cecchi Gori was adamant that his manager would not be taking the fall for the team’s poor performances. In what would turn out to be Ranieri’s final season in charge at Fiorentina, his side finished in ninth place, outside of European qualification. Verona meanwhile would spend the next two seasons in Serie B.

The next game between the sides in Verona took place under a heavy fog, in February 2000. The fans at the stadium called for the match to be suspended, unable to see anything happening on the pitch, but referee Gianluca Paparesta was of a different opinion. After 24 minutes, Batistuta powered home a free kick, but late in the first half, Domenico Morfeo did the same for Verona to level the game. Morfeo, on loan from Fiorentina, then put the home side ahead three minutes after the break. He got the better of Daniele Adani, and then drove the ball past Francesco Toldo. It was left to Manuel Rui Costa to salvage a point for the visitors, with just over twenty minutes to play, he struck from outside the area to beat Sebastien Frey, 2-2 the final score. Cesare Prandelli was the Verona manager that day, having won promotion the previous season.

In Fiorentina’s disastrous 2001/02 season, they did manage to get a rare win that campaign at Verona. The sides met there in March, and Fiorentina were without a win since December. Morfeo opened the scoring, but this time he was back at Fiorentina. Adriano looked to have secured the win eight minutes from time when he made it 2-0, but there was still time for a future Viola idol, Adrian Mutu, to pull one back for Verona. Alberto Gilardino was also in the Verona side that day, a team managed by former Fiorentina boss Alberto Malesani. Malesani’s team which lost to Fiorentina, also featured none other than current Viola manager, Vincenzo Italiano.

AC Milan v Verona X

If anyone thought that win could turn things around for Fiorentina, they were sadly mistaken, as they went the remaining nine games of the season without another victory. Hellas, at the time of the defeat still looked pretty safe, six points from the relegation zone, and with four teams to drop, there were eight clubs behind them in the table. A poor run in however, saw Verona again relegated to Serie B.

It would be another 12 years before the sides would meet again in Verona in Serie A. They did however clash in Serie B just a couple of seasons later, when Mattia Graffiedi scored the only goal of the game to give Fiorentina an important three points in their push for promotion. While the Viola made it back to Serie A at the end of that season, Verona were closer to Serie C, just three points above the relegation zone.

They did compete in Serie C1 in 2007/08 and were only saved from further relegation after a play-out. Verona returned to Serie B, through the play-offs, at the end of the 2010/11 season, and were finally back in Serie A for the 2013/14 season. The two sides served up plenty of goals when they met that season. Fiorentina came out on top in a seven-goal thriller in Florence in December, and when they clashed again in Verona in April, it was a tie which brought another eight goals.

The tie came a week after Verona’s derby win over Chievo, thanks to a goal from ex-Viola Luca Toni. Vincenzo Montella had to plan without the injured Pepito Rossi and Mario Gómez, with Ryder Matos chosen ahead of Alessandro Matri to lead the attack, alongside Juan Cuadrado. Toni wasn’t the only ex-Viola in Andrea Mandorlini’s side, with Marco Donadel in the midfield.

After 14 minutes, the home side took the lead. Toni laid off a pass to Juan Iturbe, and when his shot was parried by Neto, Jacopo Sala headed home, reacting quicker than Nenad Tomović to the rebound. By half time, Fiorentina had managed to turn the result around, the goals coming from Cuadrado and Alberto Aquilani. With over an hour played, the Viola looked to have secured the win, Borja Valero tapping home after Rafael Pinheiro had saved an Aquilani header.

Six minutes later, the three points seemed even more secure, when Donadel was shown a red card for a foul on Cuadrado. Just four minutes later and Verona were handed a lifeline by the referee, who awarded a very generous penalty, when Iturbe went down easily when challenged by David Pizarro. Luca Toni sent Neto the wrong way, and it was now 3-2 with 17 minutes still to play.

Hellas Verona FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

At this stage, Juan Vargas had replaced Josep Iličić and Matri came on for Matos. With seven minutes to full time, Matri converted a penalty to restore the two-goal lead. Three minutes later, and that became a three-goal lead when Aquilani fired home the rebound after a save from a Cuadrado effort. In the final minute, there was time for the eight goal of the game, Iturbe the scorer after dancing past Pizarro and Gonzalo Rodríguez. A 5-3 win for Fiorentina, which kept them five points ahead of Inter in fourth spot.

The sides met again at the Bentegodi in November of the 2014/15 season, with Fiorentina in the bottom half of the table, a point behind Verona. Mario Gómez was chosen up front alongside Cuadrado, with the German striker still to find the net that season. Toni was again in the Verona side, this time alongside another ex-Fiorentina player, Alessandro Agostini. After 16 minutes, Fiorentina scored the opener, Matí Fernandez took the corner, the ball was headed on by Marcos Alonso, and Gonzalo Rodríguez poked it home.

Luca Toni did have an effort hit the crossbar before his pass set up Nico López to level the game six minutes before the break. After the interval, Marcos Alonso had two shots go wide of the target, but it was his cross which found Cuadrado in front of goal to score the winner just after the hour mark.

Hellas Verona FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

The following season, 2015/16, saw Paulo Sousa take charge of Fiorentina, and the sides met in round ten of Serie A in October, for a midweek game. Fiorentina found themselves second in the table, despite losing their two most recent league games, to Napoli and Roma. Verona, meanwhile, were already in relegation trouble, having failed to win any of their opening nine games. Mandorlini was without the ex-Fiorentina strike force of Luca Toni and Giampaolo Pazzini.

After 25 minutes, an own goal from Rafael Márquez gave Fiorentina the lead, and in the second half they added a second through Nikola Kalinić. This was the new signings sixth league goal of the campaign so far, and it was Giuseppe Rossi who provided the assist. Mandorlini would lose his job a month later, still without a win, with Luigi Delneri taking over. While Fiorentina would end the season in fifth place, for Hellas there was another relegation as they finished at the bottom of the table.

After just one season in B, Verona were back, and Fiorentina travelled to the Bentogodi early in the season in September. Stefano Pioli’s Viola had lost both of their opening games while Verona had managed a draw at Crotone. Fiorentina had lost players such as Federico Bernardeschi, Kalinić, Borja Valero and Ciprian Tătărușanu, in the summer transfer window.

By half time, Fiorentina were already 3-0 up. Giovanni Simeone opening the scoring after just two minutes with his first goal for the club, tapping home the rebound from a Marco Benassi shot. Cyril Théréau, making his club debut, put away a penalty kick eight minutes later, after Federico Chiesa had been fouled by goalkeeper, Nicolas. In the 24th minute, a corner kick was headed on by Benassi and Davide Astori was there to meet the ball with his left foot and find the net. This would be the captain’s last goal for Fiorentina.

Hellas Verona FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images

For the second half, Fabio Pecchia sent on the ex-Viola, Rômulo, along with Moise Kean, but things got even worse for Verona, with Jordan Veretout scoring direct from a free kick and Gil Dias making it 5-0 near the end. Verona did manage a 4-1 win in Florence later that season, but they would not escape another relegation.

After another quick return to Serie A, they recorded their first home win over Fiorentina since 2001, in November of 2019. A player who came up through the youth ranks with Fiorentina scored the only goal of the game, Samuel Di Carmine. Sofyan Amrabat was also in Ivan Jurić’s side that day.

Last season saw normality return, when Fiorentina came away with a 2-1 win in April this year. It also gave Beppe Iachini his first win since retaking the reins from Cesare Prandelli. Dušan Vlahović opened the scoring from the penalty spot at the end of the first half, and Martin Cáceres doubled the lead with 25 minutes left in the game. Eddie Salcedo pulled one back seven minutes later, but Fiorentina held on for an important three points.

Hellas Verona FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

One other game at the Bentegodi worth remembering dates back to 1972. On October 15th, Fiorentina recorded another 2-1 win, but more importantly it was the game which saw Giancarlo Antognoni make his debut for the club.

Viola e Butei, per sempre fradei