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Fiorentina 1-3 Inter Milan: Recap and highlights

It’s a tale of two halves as the Scudetto holders’ experience proves too much.

ACF Fiorentina v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Mattia Ozbot - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Pre-match

Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Italiano made a number of changes, as is his wont. The big news was that he swapped out 75% of his defense: Marco Benassi (at rightback), Nikola Milenković, and Matija Nastasić (returning after a decade away) stepped in. Lucas Torreira and Alfred Duncan returned to the midfield, while Riccardo Sottil and Nico González—apparently recovered sufficiently from a knock against Genoa—flanked Dušan Vlahović. Inter Milan boss Simone Inzaghi fielded the exact XI we expected.

First half

Fiorentina came out the blocks like gangbusters, forcing Samir Handanović into three very good saves in the first 15 minutes as the visitors looked stunned by the Viola intensity. Eventually, Nicolás González made it count when he beat Milan Škriniar in the air, tracked down the ball, and squared it for Riccardo Sottil to tap home at the back post.

While most longtime Fiorentina fans waited for the usual letup, the boys in purple never stopped. While the Nerazzuri had a couple of chances—a Nastasić own goal that was correctly ruled out for offside, a Cristiano Biraghi handball nearly in the box—it was clear who had the ascendancy as Fiorentina were unlucky to double their lead after Sottil twice wasted gilt-edged chances.

Second half

While Fiorentina once again dominated proceedings, Inter finally came to life and scored with their first shot on frame of the match. Nicolò Barella found Matteo Darmian (who was onside as Benassi was slow to step up) and the wingback smacked it home.

Three minutes later, Inter made their size advantage count from a corner. It was Edin Džeko who nodded home far too easily.

González ended it by getting himself sent off. After being obviously tugged back by Alessandro Bastoni, he demanded that referee Michael Fabbri book the defender. Instead, Fabbri booked the Argentina international for protest, then handed him a second one after Nico sarcastically applauded him.

Ivan Perišić finished it as the Viola threw numbers forward late; when you’re down a man and chasing the game, this is pretty much what happens.

Full time

Goals: Sottil 23’ (ass. González); Darmian 52’ (ass. Barella), Džeko 55’ (ass. Çalhanoğlu), Perišić 87’ (ass. Gagliardini)

Cards: González 78’ 78’; Škriniar 18’, Darmian 63’, Çalhanoğlu 83’

What’s next

Fiorentina’s win streak ends at 3, although the first half showed just how good this team can be. They can also feel pretty aggrieved that Fabbri let the visitors get away with some very physical play, especially in the second half. However, the real lesson here is that a winning mentality requires you to take your chances. The Viola had a hatful in the first 45 and only took one. It’s a painful lesson and the score doesn’t reflect the balance of the game, but it’s a learning experience to take into the trip to Udinese this weekend.