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Cagliari 1 - 1 Fiorentina: Player grades and 3 things we learned

A horrible referee, a poorly chosen midfield, yet Fiorentina get a point and show why Rocco is always right

Cagliari Calcio v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A
This clusterf#@$ properly sums up the game today. Great job Aureliano
Photo by Emanuele Perrone/Getty Images

Pietro Terracciano—6.5: I commented on Twitter that I am confused in choosing Pietro over Bart, I still am, but Terracciano had a very good game. He came Fiorentina in it after inexplicably going down a man, saving the penalty that shamefully resulted from Odriozola’s red.

Cristiano Biraghi—4.75: I also commented on how good Biraghi has been recently for Fiorentina, ehhhhhh, that didn’t continue today. He missed a penalty, didn't do good with crosses and had issues on defense.

Igor—5.5: Dude struggled. I wanted to give him a 5, but he did have some moments in buildup that helped me move him to a 5. Unfortunately though, he still makes too many mistakes in the back with Nikola, which adds to Milenkovic’s stress. I would like to see Fiorentina move for a CB this window, allowing Igor to challenge Biraghi for the LB spot. Until then, a 5.5 against Cagliari could be a 4.5 against top table teams.

Nikola Milenković—5.5: I should grade him on a curve, as mentioned above, he was under a lot of stress due to mistakes by Igor. That said, he made mistakes of his own. He is too good to make these. That is all.

Alvaro Odriozola—5.5: Some may challenge me here, admittedly, he is the hardest to grade today. I loved what he did moving forward. He created many disruptions. Did he embelish the push the Joao Pedro push, sure, but he was shoved, causing his arm to flail, then causing contact with the ball. It is amazing that Aureliano was able to see his hand touch that ball, it was very hard to see it definitively on tv, yet he missed several fouls in build up and then on that play from Pedro to Odriozola.

Lucas Torreira—6: See Jack. He isn’t the issue in midfield. I am not saying Castrovilli is either. Clearly though this trio doesn’t work. Torreira is all over the pitch and seen at every squabble with the referee. He is passionate about this club and our city. He will be purchased by Fiorentina, justly so.

Gaetano Castrovilli—5: I feel like I am very harsh on Gaetano, but I also feel like I am not. He had a few moments of brilliance dribbling up the pitch. He also was not in position many of times to allow for the flow of offense to move through him based on his desire to run to the wings and up. There is a gap with Castro playing alongside Jack and Torreira. When it is this apparent against a relegation team, maybe it is time to listen and act.

Nico Gonzalez—6: Nico was a bright spot MOST of the time today. It is apparent that he is best in the open field with the ball at his feet. He looks like a gazelle out there. He should have drawn a slew of more fouls, but Aureliano had his orders. Nico needs to just put things together for the final product.

Krzysztof Piatek—5.5: First off, I had to google the spelling of his first name. He had a great start. Made me feel confident in my 3-1 prediction, however, he didnt do enough to impact the game going forward. Was this his fault? I don’t think so. He has the same issue as Dusan. With a faulty midfield how does he get service? Well, he didn’t.

Jonathan Ikone —6: Not an issue for Fiorentina in this game. Good work rate, good movement in attack. Guy can dribble, which we knew, but he is out there hustling nonstop. Great addition by Prade, who deserves credit for this signing.

Subs:

Youssef Maleh —6.5: He has Fiorentina’s second highest rating for me. Could I be biased because of my recent comments that Maleh has the better upside over Castrovilli? I asked myself this before I graded him. In my opinion though, there was no more active or impactful player (other than Sottil’s amazing individual goal) than Maleh. He was running down every ball, closing down every player, and impacting play to insure Fiorentina got one point.

Riccardo Sottil —7.5 I have been tough of Ricky. Today, in very limited play, he really impacted the season. His goal was Dusan-esque. He took the ball on the left flank, ran up on his own, beat the defender for a goal that he created ALL HIS OWN. This is the Ricky we have all wanted to see. And, just like that goal, he exited so quickly when Fiorentina were threatening to go ahead. Ho hummmm.

Lorenzo Venuti —6: With a brood of kids watching the game with me, I admittedly missed this sub. I saw him a dozen minutes after the sub making a good play on the ball. He performed well and contained as he needed to.

Matija Nastasic — N/A: Came on in a time that confused me. I get the desire to get the point, but not when we have a throw in on their half. As it so happens, a moment presents itself that would have been better to have Sottil on the pitch. Oh well.

Coach Italiano —5 We gave up 2 points to relegation-bound Cagliari. He decided to once again roll with a midfield of Jack, Torreira and Castrovilli. I also didn’t like the move to take out Sottil and put in Nastasic.

Three things we learned

1. Don’t question Rocco when he speaks out. He is right and it is needed.

Let’s sum this up in one bullet. The officiating was atrocious. It was borderline stealing at times. The fact that a referee was suspended long term after far less concerning calls in the AC Milan/Salernitana game makes me wonder if Aureliano should ever work another match ever again.

Rocco has been very vocal. Some like it, some don’t. All things he brings up are right and just. Serie A is deficient for obvious reasons, it operates towards the common goal of one team. There needs to be transparent, autonomous agencies inside of Serie A that all teams can trust and count on. To date, this is not the case. There is a pecking order, which is absolute horseshit. When Rocco speaks publicly, Fiorentina fans should unite. Enough is enough.

2. Neither Jack and Castro nor Duncan and Maleh should play together.

I kept the title from the last game’s “what did we learn” because we clearly didnt learn. Stop. Please, please stop playing Jack and Castrovilli together. If we can’t learn this against a relegation team, when will we? Why wasn’t Duncan played? This was a perfect game for him to start and Maleh to come in. We have depth in our midfield but we never use it appropriately.

3. This team DOES need incoming transfers this window.

No shot to Ben, this is not that. This is just my opinion and we differ here, maybe because of expectations. Having kept Dusan this summer when we could have sold him to Atletico only to ultimately lose him to Juve, this season is Europe or bust. We need a CB for when Dusan or LMQ are not available. I would also like to see us get a stud midfielder and ship out a few of ours to help us ensure we get to Europe. I am a broken record. The midfield has cost us so many points this year. Is it an issue of we didnt have the talent available? Not always. I’d argue we do, but we never use it correctly. I’d also argue that if we want to get to Europe this year, which is very attainable, we only lack a backup CB and a stud midfielder.

3b. What a travesty, my goodness what a travesty.

I tweeted at the end of the first half that the officiating was bad. While there wasn’t anything overtly egregious or impacting, there was a noticeably trend that was not consistent for both teams on the pitch. Go re-watch the game. How many times do we see fouls called one way and not the other? One great example is the foul on Odriozola that was not called, which led a red card and penalty. Any ticky tack push in the back was called against Fiorentina. Thankfully for Fiorentina fans, these calls did not fully impact the team’s points, but only getting one point from Cagliari is why Fiorentina may not play in Europe next year.