In front of a much less intense Artemio Franchi, Vincenzo Italiano’s only changes to the XI that faced Juventus in the Coppa Italia were enforced by absences: Lorenzo Venuti and Youssef Maleh came in. Igor Tudor fielded both ex-Viola players at his disposal, with Federico Ceccherini at the back and Giovanni Simeone up front.
The Viola looked slow and disinterested at the start, letting Hellas Verona pin them back and resorting to aimlessly booting the ball vaguely towards Krzysztof Piątek, who wasn’t able to do much with it. Against the run of play, though, it was Pietro Terracciano who keyed the first goal, scooping up a cross and immediately thumping it into space in front of Jonathan Ikone, who ran it down and shot. The ball caromed around and dropped perfectly for Piątek, who lashed it home to give the hosts a slightly undeserved lead.
That lead didn’t last too long, though, as Nikola Milenković (who’d been the Viola’s best player) kicked the heck out of Kevin Lasagna trying to clear a cross. There was never any question it was a penalty, and Gianluca Caprari slotted home, albeit a bit luckily, to equalize.
The rest of the half was mostly dominated by the visitors as Fiorentina forgot they had a midfield and kept booming it forward towards Piątek, allowing the Mastini to recover the ball and break quickly time and again. They had a couple of good chances, none better than a 1-v-1 following a few weird bounces, but Pietro Terracciano brilliantly denied Lasagna at the edge of the area
Following a triple change—Ikone, Riccardo Saponara, and Maleh replaced by Sottil, Callejón (!), and Duncan—the hosts looked much better and began to control play. Verona responded by dropping deep and trying to soak up pressure, but Fiorentina made them suffer. Lucas Torreira wasted a glorious opportunity, unmarked from 4 yards out, to tap in a low Callejón cross, but that was probably the best chance Fiorentina had, even though they kept the Mastini out of it entirely as the visitors resorted to fouling in an effort to disrupt their hosts’ rhythm to the point that Italiano got booked protesting it.
Goals: Piątek 10’; Caprari PK 20’
Cards: Italiano 87’ (lol); Günter 37’, Simeone 56’, Ceccherini 72’, Bessa 82’
The Viola miss a chance to pull even with Lazio and remain in 8th place. Even with a game in hand, it’s tough to see them finishing in the European places now, as half their remaining matches come against sides in the top six. On the plus side, the goal means that Piątek is now the current high scorer with 6, surpassing Cristiano Biraghi. It’s cold comfort for the fans, though.