Fiorentina came into this one on the back of its first winning streak in almost exactly 2 years, which was a pretty nice feeling. Of course, the reward for that was taking on reigning champions Inter Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi; it was always going to be a big ask even if manager Vincenzo Italiano’d had access to his entire XI.
Even so, the Viola started brilliantly. Riccardo Sottil got the goal—his first of the year—but over 45 minutes, the hosts consistently carved open the Nerazzurri defense, largely on the back of truly incredible high pressure that made the Scudetto holders look utterly helpless. Nicolás González in particular looked unplayable. The only question at halftime was whether, having run so furiously to start with, Fiorentina would rue the numerous chances they missed as their energy levels waned.
And reader, rue those chances they did. After the break, the good guys looked gassed. Even so, when Matteo Darmian struck on the counter, it was clearly against the run of play. When Edin Džeko doubled that lead off a corner, though, Fiorentina completely fell apart. Exhaustion obviously played a part, but as the game wore on, frustration with themselves and with referee Michael Fabbri (who was really bad) increased, culminating with González earning two bookings in 10 seconds for protesting an obvious foul. That was the end of the contest, as Ivan Perišić’s late strike really didn’t mean anything.
Here’s all our coverage of those opening 45 minutes and also what came afterwards. Happy reading.