This is the 82nd Serie A season in which Fiorentina and Juventus have competed against each other. In those previous 81 seasons, Fiorentina have only ever completed the double over their rivals on three occasions.
Here in part one, we’ll take a look at the first of those in the 1940/41 season, when after eight attempts, Fiorentina finally won away to Juventus. January 19th 1941, at the Stadio Benito Mussolini, the sides met at the halfway stage of the season. Fiorentina had made a great start to the campaign, and after seven rounds they were level at the top of the table with Juventus and Bologna. Having only just avoided relegation the previous season, this was a big improvement for the side, which now included new signing Ferruccio Valcareggi. They had however won the Coppa Italia the season before, the club’s first ever trophy.
After that excellent start to the season, some bad results, including a 6-2 defeat at Torino, had seen them slip away from the leaders. They went into this game in 6th place, four points behind Juventus. The first half finished scoreless but both sides had chances to break the deadlock. Luigi Griffanti, Fiorentina goalkeeper and captain, did well to save from Gino Colaussi. Felice Borel had also struck the crossbar with another effort from the home side. Valcareggi went closest for the Viola, but Alfredo Bodoira in the Juventus goal managed to punch the ball away before it found the net.
Fiorentina took the lead 12 minutes after the break, through Giovacchino Magherini, set up by Dante Di Benedetti. Seven minutes later the home side were level thanks to Giuglielmo Gabetto. It took Fiorentina just five minutes to take the lead again, when Valcareggi’s shot was deflected past the keeper by defender Giovanni Varglien. A minute later and the away side looked to have finished off the game when Romeo Menti scored from a rebound when Valcareggi’s effort came back off the post.
With 12 minutes left to play, Juventus found a lifeline, thanks to a penalty. After a foul on Gabetto, Colaussi converted the resulting spot-kick. Fiorentina hung on for the win, and were now in fifth place, two points behind both Juventus and Torino, and six points off the leaders Bologna.
The sides met again in Florence on the final day of the season, at what was then called the Stadio Giovanni Berta. Fiorentina were still in fifth place, level on points with Juventus, but behind on goal difference. The Viola went in 1-0 up at the break. A foul by Pietro Rava on Di Benedetti was punished with a penalty by the referee, Giuseppe Coletti. Menti stepped up to convert his seventh penalty of the season. This was also his 18th goal of the league campaign, as he finished as the second highest scorer in Serie A.
Romeo Menti, or Meo as he was better known, had joined Fiorentina in 1938 after their relegation to Serie B, and his 17 goals helped the team win promotion back to the top flight. He would move to Torino after this season and in two spells with the club won four Serie A league titles. He also had another season at Fiorentina on loan during that time. Romeo was one of the victims of the Superga air tragedy, when 31 people died after a plane carrying the Torino team crashed on a hill close to Turin. Meo’s body was identified thanks to the Fiorentina badge which was always pinned on his jacket, showing the love he still held for his former club. He was also buried in a cemetery at Antella, just outside Florence.
The second half of that game was all one way traffic, as Fiorentina went on to win 5-0. Di Benedetti scored a hat-trick in less than twenty minutes. The final goal was scored by Pasquale Morisco, his only goal of the season. That resounding win took Fiorentina ahead of Juventus and they finished the season level on points with third placed Milan.
Fiorentina actually went on to do the treble over Juve that season. The Coppa Italia continued after the league had ended, and on May 18th the sides met again in Florence in the last sixteen of the competition. Fiorentina again put five past their opponents, but it wasn’t quite as straightforward as the last game.
Juventus had a 2-1 lead at half time, and it was another Romeo Menti penalty which brought Fiorentina level in the second half, awarded for a handball on the goal line. By then Juventus were already down to ten men, as Giovanni Varglien had been shown the red card just a couple of minutes before the penalty. Morisco then scored two goals in quick succession to put Fiorentina 4-2 ahead.
Another penalty, but this time for Juventus, was converted by Pietro Rava and the Viola now held just a one goal lead going into the final ten minutes. Di Benedetti then added a fifth goal and at 5-3 it looked to be all over. There was still time for some late drama however, when with seven minutes to play Juventus were given another lifeline. A penalty was awarded by referee Raffaele Scorzoni, for a foul by Carlo Piccardi on Savino Bellini. Rava stepped up again but this time his effort was saved by Ugo Innocenti, who was filling in for the injured Griffanti. This eight goal thriller finished 5-3 for Fiorentina, the Coppa Italia holders, but they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual winners Roma.
A unique treble then over Juventus in 1940/41, scoring 13 goals in the process. A feat which, although over 80 years old, we have never again managed to do.