Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Italiano made 5 changes from the midweek Coppa win over Napoli. The only real surprise was that Youssef Maleh got the nod in midfield. Jonathan Ikone had to wait a bit longer for his first start, while Dušan Vlahović, despite rumors that he’d start from the bench, was in the XI. The most notable absence was the fans; this was the first game in Florence since stadium attendance was capped at 5000.
The chaos enveloping Genoa, on the other hand, didn’t let up at all: Nicolò Rovella, originally named to the starting lineup, dropped out in favor of Pedro Galdames. Since Mauro Tasotti isn’t fully accredited as a manager, it was Primavera coach
Riccardo Saponara won an early penalty and Dušan Vlahović naturally stepped up to take it. Much to everyone’s astonishment, though, it didn’t end up in the back of the net for the first time in his Serie A career. Credit to old man Salvatore Sirigu for saving the cucchiao, but it wasn’t Susan’s best effort.
Dušan Vlahovic has just missed a penalty against 86 years old Sirigu. Because he tried a panenka. Unbelievable. ⭐️ #Vlahovic— lp (@peelliwasbanned) January 17, 2022
Fiorentina want €70m to sell him - many clubs in the race. What a talent. pic.twitter.com/jTn4vSwwaq
The Genoa goalkeeper stopped Vlahović again moments later after a lovely pass from Nico González put him through, but Álvaro Odriozola was on hand to power home the rebound with his left, marking two straight games featuring Fiorentina’s rightback getting on the scoresheet.
The rebound goal looked like it was becoming a theme, as Giacomo Bonaventura rose very well for a perfect Cristiano Biraghi cross. While Sirigu denied him the first time, Jack made no mistake at second time of asking to score his 50th career Serie A goal.
[ed. note: this is the one goal I can’t find video of, but I’ll update it if/when I track it down]
Because Fiorentina’s primary attacking threat is apparently fullbacks now, it was Biraghi who scored the third himself. For the second game in a row, the captain found the net. This time, though, it was slightly less scruffy. In fact, you’re not going to find a sweeter strike off a free kick.
That Biraghi free kick was so sweet pic.twitter.com/Ie56eIB5VI— Gilles (@_Grimanditweets) January 17, 2022
These weren’t isolated incidents. Fiorentina were just miles better in every phase of play, seeing 78% possession and winning the ball back in Genoa’s half every time they lost it. It was maybe the most dominant 45 minutes we’ve seen from the guys this year.
Clearly eager to make up for his missed penalty, Vlahović latched onto a nice Jack pass, took an absurd touch to bring it down in stride, and then fulfilled his obvious desire to chip Sirigu with an outrageously delicate lob that left the Genoa goalkeeper completely stranded.
La fiorentina di Italiano è uno spettacolo. Bonaventura con una palla al bacio per Dusan Vlahovic che non sbaglia due volte di fila pic.twitter.com/hkaBqsEWkv— Nicolò (@_nicolorossi) January 17, 2022
Fiorentina didn’t let off even a little bit and kept pushing, and guess what happened? A blatant handball to deny Saponara from finding Vlahović in the area gave Biraghi another fee kick, and you’d better believe that he did the thing for the second time in the game. Seriously, he’s just about cracked the code on these free kicks.
biraghi foul mark ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/yeNDbQ9HOQ— ᗷᖇO Oᖴ TᕼE ᑕᒪIᑭᔕ⛹ ⚽️ ♂️ (@manclipss) January 17, 2022
Was Fiorentina done? Hell no they weren’t done. Jonathan Ikone got his first Viola assist with a silky run down the left and crossed the obvious aerial target lurking alone at the back post. That’s right, it was none other than all 167 cm (or 5’6) of Lucas Torreira who nodded it home.
Referee Fabio Maresca didn’t leave any stoppage time, and you can see why. This was utter carnage as Fiorentina completely destroyed a hapless Genoa. There was nothing that went wrong. It was magnificent and comprehensive and about as fun as anything you’ll ever see.
Goals: Odriozola 15’, Bonaventura 34’, Biraghi 42’ 69’, Vlahović 51’ (ass. Bonaventura), Torreira 74’ (ass. Ikone)
Cards: Torreira 74’; Calafiori 32’, Portanova 36’, Sturaro 41’
The 3 points send Fiorentina even with Lazio and AS Roma on 35, although the Viola have a game in hand (maybe, depending on whether or not the Udinese fixture is ruled a forfeit or rescheduled). While Genoa are certainly going down and are in a 2-team race with Salernitana for the “least deserves to be here” award, putting 6 goals past a bad team should help the Viola emerge from the Torino funk. Yep, it’s pretty fun to like this club right now.