Vincenzo Italiano returned to a jilted Spezia for the first time since leaving them in the summer, and the fans at the Armando Picco weren’t afraid to let him know their feelings. While their current coach Thiago Motta didn’t change anything from their last game, Italiano shifted things around, largely due to the suspensions of Lucas Torreira and Giacomo Bonaventura in midfield.
Backed by a ferocious crowd that wasn’t happy to see Vincenzo Italiano again, Spezia did nothing but press, press, press for the opening minutes. It worked, too, as Fiorentina looked quite uncomfortable, with Nico González in particular ceding possession cheaply. However, the visitors slowly improved and eventually Nico won a penalty after dusting Arkadiusz Reca, but Krzysztof Piątek doinked it off the upright.
The pressure began to pay off as, newly emboldened, the Aquilotti started looking for Emmanuel Gyasi and Daniele Verde in behind. While they didn’t manage to get a shot on target, they had chances, and, more importantly, dragged the game down to their level, preventing Fiorentina from playing as they’d have wanted. Just before the half, however, Piątek made amends for his miss, although the credit really goes to Álvaro Odriozola for winning the ball and dummying Youssef Maleh’s cross perfectly to leave the Pole a 2-yard tap-in on the back post.
Fiorentina looked to be ascendant for the most part and slowly began applying the clamps; Spezia were lucky not to be reduced to 10 after a succession of really hard fouls that referee Alessandro Marchetti let go. Cristiano Biraghi nearly scored direct from a corner, striking the bar, and it felt like the visitors were going to walk away with 3 points. Sofyan Amrabat, however, undid all that hard work when he dawdled on the ball, allowing Kevin Agudelo (because of course) to steal and churn all the way down the pitch before thundering one past Pietro Terracciano.
That gut punch felt like it was going to prove decisive, but the action was far from over. Biraghi again stung the woodwork, but it felt like all the scuffling from the Viola wouldn’t be enough until Amrabat made up for his mistake by drilling a low shot through a crowd and ( possibly with a bit of help from a deflection) just inside the near post.
Jonathan Ikone had a chance to put it beyond reach moments later but whiffed completely. Fortunately, though, Fiorentina held out and took a road win to break Ligurian hearts.
Goals: Agudelo 74’; Piątek 42’ (ass. Maleh), Amrabat 89’ (ass. Cabral)
Cards: Reca 78’, Amian 84’; Castrovilli 67’
The big thing is that Fiorentina propel themselves back to 8th place with 39 points, just 3 behind Lazio and the coveted 6th spot and still with the Udinese game in hand. It also marks their first away win since beating Bologna more than 2 months ago. It’s also worth pointing out that this was Piątek’s first Serie A goal in 799 days, which is a fun little piece of trivia.