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Fiorentina 3-4 Inter Milan: Match report and highlights

Some shocking refereeing and some shocking mistakes mean the Viola don’t get anything from the wildest Serie A game of the season.

ACF Fiorentina v FC Internazionale - Serie A
When you get that phone call before kickoff telling you to make sure that Inter wins.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images


It felt pretty tense at the Artemio Franchi, as supporters have grown increasingly frustrated with the team’s play and its treatment of the fans (read the Ultras’ statement here); in return, Vincenzo Italiano called off his press conference yesterday. Even so, the Curva Fiesole was in magnificent form, producing a gorgeous display ahead of kickoff inside a stadium packed with 36,699 fans, the most it’s ever seen.

First half

The game itself started about as poorly as possible, as Lautaro Martínez picked off a lazy pass in midfield and played Niccolò Barella into space, where the Italian scrambled his finish past Pietro Terracciano. It was the worst possible start.

It got even worse, as Nicolás González came up limping after a non-contact play and immediately called for a sub; Jonathan Ikoné replaced him and nearly brought the stadium down with a curler that flashed inches wide a moment later. Because this is Fiorentina, though, it was Inter Milan who scored next, with Martínez w Lucas Martínez Quarta into a corkscrew before firing another one past Terracciano. 0-2 down and not even a quarter of an hour gone. Ugh.

Fiorentina responded by, well, not responding. They missed simple passes and looked more likely to concede a third than anything else, at least until Cristiano Biraghi fizzed in a neat cross that a late-breaking Giacomo Bonaventura volleyed wide. Referee Paolo Valeri checked VAR for what we all saw, though: Federico Dimarco trying to amputate Jack’s leg at the knee with an absurdly dangerous challenge that eventually resulted in a penalty but not even a booking. Again, look at this and tell me it’s not a straight red.

Arthur Cabral stepped up and, despite a slightly unnerving stutter-step, sent Andre Onana the wrong way to score his first Serie A penalty.

Valeri completely lost control of the match after that as things descended into chaos, with tackles crunching in and even a brief fracas near midfield. When the triple blast finally came, it felt like we’d just weathered a decade rather than 45 minutes.

Second half

The Viola emerged looking re-energized and started to pin Inter back, although you got the sense that the visitors were happy to absorb pressure and look to break. Italiano pulled Alfred Duncan just 5 minutes into the half and added Luka Jović, moving to a rather chaotic 4-4-2, but it paid off quickly as Christian Kouamé hit a towering cross-field switch for Ikoné, who roasted Francesco Acerbi en route to a truly sublime finish.

Even at 2-2, though, this group didn’t sit back and play for a point. They kept turning the screw, with Kouamé central to everything, even as the Nerazzurri threatened to counter at any moment and did; Pietro Terracciano had to make a great 1-v-1 save on Barella. Despite the intent shown by the Viola, though, the goal came at the other end. Referee Paolo Valeri, after a full VAR check, awarded the spot kick to Martínez, even though replays clearly showed that Terracciano got there first; after not sending off Dimarco in the first half, it was a second shocking decision in Inter’s favor.

Even then, though, the good guys never quit. They kept working the ball down the wings and looking for underlapping runs and occasionally just lumped it into the box, with the visitors bunkering back and hoping to withstand the shelling. They didn’t, though, because Jović scored an absolute banger of a volley from a Milenković header to pull the sides even again.

In the 5th minute of injury time, though, the demons that have always tried to destroy Fiorentina struck again. Lorenzo Venuti somehow blasted his clearance right into Henrick Mkhitaryan’s shins, and the ball ricocheted past Terracciano. You feel for Lollo, but his knack for catastrophe at the last possible moment is becoming a thing.

Full time

Goals: Cabral 33’ (PK), Ikoné 60’ (ass. Kouamé), Jović 90’ (ass. Milenković); Barella 2’ (ass. Martínez), Martínez 15’ 73’ (PK), Mkhitaryan 90’+5

Cards: Bonaventura 35’, Dodô 38’, Amrabt 54’, Milenković 79’; Acerbi 35’, Simone Inzaghi 38’ (lol), Barella 56’, Dumfries 88’

What’s next

Fiorentina stay on 10 points and remain in 13th place alongside Monza, but you can’t really blame them for this one. Dimarco should’ve been sent off in the first half and Inter got a phantom penalty. Expect some fines for the Viola brass after they make some statements about Valeri, and expect a lengthy break for the referee too.

Even so, this is a tough one to swallow. Fiorentina were probably the better side for the majority of this game and overcame some miserable officiating to take a point, but now they have another loss and a Thursday game against Başakşehir as the season slowly spirals around the bottom of the toilet.