In Fiorentina’s first trip to the Coppa Italia semifinals in 3 years, the narrative centered firmly about the first return of Dušan Vlahović to the Artemio Franchi. As expected, the home fans turned the Franchi into a howling den of terror, creating perhaps the most intense atmosphere (including the horrifyingly obligatory racist chants) we’ve ever seen despite capacity being limited to 75%.
The game itself was, perhaps due to a spate of injuries in the Juventus camp, mostly one-way traffic. Fiorentina dominated from the opening whistle, carving the Notts County cosplayers apart and creating several good opportunities to shoot from distance, but didn’t look quite capable of prying apart a very deep and disciplined defense that had no interest in getting numbers forward. Indeed, so complete was the Viola control that the bad guys didn’t even have a shot in the first half as they came close several times. Jonathan Ikone rolled one just wide of the post for the hosts’ best chance, but it felt like the breakthrough was imminent.
The second half continued the tenor of the first, with Fiorentina again ascendant, although Max Allegri made a few substitutions to make it a bit more interesting. Pietro Terracciano made an excellent save on Vlahović, but that was the only time the Serbian striker got a sniff. It was at the other end that Ikone, played through by a lovely Lucas Torreira ball, dinked his finish off the post when 1-v-1 with Mattia Perin. As the game wound down, it felt like we were going to see a scoreless draw despite the Viola excellence; instead, it was Lorenzo Venuti who got the last touch on a Juan Cuadrado cross, turning it into his own net with the last kick of the game to lose it in the most unfair and painful way imaginable.
If you want to relive that injustice and that pain, here’s all our coverage of the game.