As Fiorentina look to come back from a first leg defeat against Juventus, our most recent Coppa clashes with the enemy may not give much cause for comfort. The last time the sides met in the competition was also at the semi-final stage, in 2015. Fiorentina won the first leg in Turin, 2-1, thanks to two Mo Salah goals, but a month later Juventus would reach the final after a 3-0 win in Florence. Massimiliano Allegri’s side then went on to beat Lazio in the final.
The 2005/06 season saw the sides meet in the last sixteen of the competition. On December 1st Fiorentina took a 2-0 lead at the Franchi, with goals from Valeri Bojinov and Giampaolo Pazzini. Juventus came back to claim a 2-2 draw as Gianluca Pessotto and Adrian Mutu grabbed the goals. Three days later the teams would again play each other in Florence, with the visitors coming out on top in a 2-1 league victory. Being the Coppa Italia, it would be over a month before the second leg took place in Turin, and by half-time Juventus were 3-0 up, with Alessandro Del Piero scoring twice and Mutu again netting against the club he would soon join. The game finished 4-1, with Del Piero completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot, Bojinov scoring the consolation goal.
In January 1998 the teams again played out a 2-2 draw in Florence, this time at the quarter-final stage. Again, Fiorentina had taken a 2-0 lead, with Manuel Rui Costa opening the scoring after just five minutes and a Paolo Montero own goal before half-time. Filippo Inzaghi and Zinedine Zidane were the scorers of what would be the decisive away goals, as the teams then played out a scoreless draw at the Stadio delle Alpi.
Our history with Juventus goes back much further than these recent disappointments however, and it shows that there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful.
The Coppa Italia has undergone many changes and experiments (none of them successful) and in the 1970’s and 1980’s the two sides met twice at the group stage of the competition. In the 1978/79 edition, they played a scoreless draw in Florence. Although Fiorentina completed the group undefeated, which also contained Monza, Nocerina and Taranto, they managed just one win and finished second to Juventus. While Fiorentina exited the competition, Juventus went on to win the trophy.
In 1985/86 it was Fiorentina who topped the group. After three wins and a draw against Monza, Perugia, Palermo, and Casertana, the Viola went into the final group game one point ahead of Juventus. It took a Daniel Passarella penalty to divide the sides in Florence, although the losers also qualified for the next round as runners-up. Juventus went out to Como at the next stage, while Fiorentina knocked out both Udinese and Empoli before bowing out to eventual winners Roma, in the semi-final.
At the end of the 1950’s Juventus did get the better of the Viola. In the 1958/59 season they met in the quarter-final, with Juve winning 3-1 in Turin, Gianfranco Petris scoring Fiorentina’s goal. The following season both sides went all the way to the final, which wasn’t played until September 1960, a week before the new season began. Juventus were still in the competition thanks to a coin-toss in the quarter-final. Penalty shoot-outs had only been introduced in the Coppa Italia the previous season, but even this wasn’t always enough to separate two teams.
When Atalanta and Juventus finished 2-2 after extra-time in Bergamo, the shoot-out came into play. Rino Marchesi had scored from the penalty spot to level the game for Atalanta, and he would now have the responsibility of taking not one, but all of his team’s penalties in the shoot-out. This was the curious rule back then, with just one player for each side taking all of the spot-kicks, and it wasn’t five penalties either, but six. Antonio Montico was the Juventus player chosen, up against Atalanta keeper Zaccaria Cometti who had come on as a substitute during the game, while Marchesi, who had converted five penalties during the league season, would be taking on Giuseppe Vavassori. Both players put away all six penalties, although Montico did get to retake one after Cometti had saved but was judged to have moved too early.
Sudden death in the penalty shoot-out had not yet been introduced, and so it took a coin toss to decide the winner. As the away side, Juventus got to choose, and their captain Umberto Colombo chose ‘heads’ and they made it through to the semi-final. Colombo would later join Atalanta, while Marchesi would already be a Fiorentina player by the time the final came around.
The final took place at the San Siro, and the 70,000 in the stadium were treated to a dramatic clash between Fiorentina and Juventus. The Fiorentina side included Giuliano Sarti in goal, Enzo Robotti, Alberto Orzan, Kurt Hamrin, and Luigi Milan, as well as Rino Marchesi. John Charles gave Juventus an early lead after ten minutes before Miguel Montuori levelled the tie before the break. The referee, Raoul Righi, awarded Juventus a penalty for a foul by Dante Micheli on Charles, but after speaking to the linesman, he changed his mind and instead gave a free kick at the edge of the area. The Juventus players were incensed, and even more so when shortly afterwards Fiorentina took the lead through Dino da Costa.
When Charles passed the ball to Omar Sívori at the restart, the Argentine appeared to aim the ball at the referee in anger. Righi sent off Sivori, and Juventus were a goal down and now a man down too. They still managed to find an equaliser, with Charles heading his second goal of the final with 17 minutes left to play. Fiorentina were unable to take advantage of the extra man and the game went to extra time. With Marchesi in their side, a penalty shoot-out may have been a decent outcome for the Viola, but Juventus found the winner seven minutes into extra-time. Giampiero Boniperti’s shot from outside the era took a deflection on its way past Sarti, and that was enough to win the Coppa Italia.
I did promise some reasons to be cheerful, and the following season Fiorentina got their revenge, and the Coppa Italia. In the 1960/61 season, the two sides met in the semi-final, with Fiorentina having home advantage. The Viola had reached this stage after winning a ten-goal thriller over Roma in the quarter-final. Luigi Milan opened the scoring against Juventus before the referee this time did award the visitors a penalty. Bruno Mora converted, and the sides went in level at the break. Fiorentina were then awarded a penalty of their own for a foul on Hamrin, and Rino Marchesi made no mistake to put the Viola back in front. In the final minute, a goal from Dino da Costa wrapped up a 3-1 win and Fiorentina were again into the final.
Before facing Lazio in the Coppa Italia final, they also had the European Cup Winner’s Cup final against Glasgow Rangers. A week after the win over Juventus, they travelled to Ibrox stadium and came home with a 2-0 win, and ten days later they became the first Italian side to win a major European trophy with a 2-1 home win. On June 11th in Florence, they completed the cup double with a 2-0 win over Lazio thanks to goals from Petris and Milan.
Our Coppa Italia meetings with Juventus go back to both during and before the Second World War, with Fiorentina winning all three games. In the 1940/41 season, the league campaign had just finished when the Coppa Italia kicked off for Fiorentina. The Viola had been an early front runner in Serie A and ended the season level on points with Milan in third place, two points ahead of Juventus. That two-point gap was secured on the final day of the season, when Fiorentina thumped Juventus 5-0 in Florence.
Two weeks later and Juventus were back at what was then the Giovanni Berta stadium for the Coppa Italia last sixteen game. This time the visitors managed to score three goals, but they again conceded five. Fiorentina had taken an early lead through Romano Penzo, but Juventus were 2-1 up at the break, with Felice Borel scoring the second goal. Felice was a younger brother of Aldo Giuseppe Borel, who had played alongside him at Juve but had previously spent a season at Fiorentina.
Fiorentina levelled the game with a Romeo Menti penalty, before two goals from Pasquale Morisco looked to have settled the tie. Juventus then pulled it back to 4-3 with a Pietro Rava penalty before Dante Di Benedetti wrapped up a 5-3 win. Di Benedetti had also scored a hat-trick in the 5-0 league win, and Fiorentina had now beaten Juventus for the third time that season. The only player to score in all three victories was Romeo Menti, and eight years later Menti was killed in the Superga plane disaster which destroyed the Great Torino side. Menti was the last player to score for that Torino team, in a 4-3 defeat in a friendly with Benfica a day earlier.
Fiorentina had made their debut appearance in the Coppa Italia in the 1935/36 season. It was only the third running of the competition, and the previous edition in 1926/27 had been abandoned due to lack of interest. The Viola’s first ever Coppa game was an 8-0 win over Sestrese on December 26th, 1935. They reached the quarter-final stage which took place after the league campaign had ended. On May 24th they travelled to Turin to take on Juventus at the Stadio Filadelfia, Torino’s stadium. Fiorentina had actually been drawn to play at home, but they gave up this advantage after a request by both Torino and Juventus.
Torino were scheduled to face Livorno the same day, and it was decided to make a double-header, with the Torino game kicking off first on the Sunday afternoon. That match went to extra-time, with Torino coming out 4-2 winners, and they would meet the victors of the second game in the semi-final. While Fiorentina’s win over Genova in the previous round had come back in January, Juventus had played their tie with Ambrosiana-Inter just three days prior to their clash with Fiorentina. The original fixture had been postponed due to snow back in January.
Fiorentina and Juventus both fielded a set of brothers that day, with Mario and Italo Pizziolo in the Viola side and Giovanni and Mario Varglien for Juventus. It was Giovanni who opened the scoring to put Juve ahead after 17 minutes and there was no change in the score before the break. It took over half an hour of the second half, but Fiorentina finally found the goal to level the match, through Mario Perazzolo. Two minutes later and Varglien the goal scorer was sent off, and with the extra man against a tired looking Juventus, Fiorentina scored two more. In the last five minutes the goals from Cinzio Scagliotti and Cherubino Comini gave the Viola the 3-1 win. Scagliotti would soon be on his way to join Juventus.
Fiorentina returned to the Filadelfia a week later for the semi-final with Torino. They fell to a 2-0 defeat and Torino went on to win the final against Alessandria, but our story will end with a Fiorentina success. The 1939/40 Coppa Italia saw Fiorentina kick off their campaign with another big win over Christmas. On Christmas Eve 1939, the Viola recorded a 7-1 home win over Manlio Cavagnaro. The opposition had been forced into a name change by the Fascist regime, but Manlio were none other than Sestrese, who had suffered an 8-0 trashing here four years earlier.
In April, Fiorentina needed a replay to overcome Milano, yet another enforced name change. After a 1-1 draw at the San Siro, when Fiorentina welcomed Milan to Florence, they did so with a 5-0 victory. Four of those goals came in the second half, with Giuseppe Baldini netting twice. Baldini scored another two as Fiorentina disposed of Lazio 4-1 in the quarter-final, to set up a semi-final tie with Juventus.
A week after the league season finished, the sides met in Florence on June 9th. This was the same day that a young, relatively unknown Fausto Coppi, won his first ever Giro D’Italia, and would go on to be the world’s top cyclist in the years following the Second World War. Earlier, the eleventh stage of the Giro had left Florence for Modena, with Coppi winning the stage which allowed him to take over the leader board, the rest day in Florence had obviously agreed with him.
Despite dominating the first half, Fiorentina were unable to break down the Juve defence. After an hour of play, the Viola finally scored the opener, through Mario Celoria, and he also made it 2-0 with 13 minutes left to play. Baldini finished the game off with Fiorentina’s third goal. This was his fifth goal in the Coppa Italia that season, the 18-year-old who had spent most of his first Serie A season on the bench.
Fiorentina would also have home advantage for their first ever Coppa Italia final. Six days after their 3-0 win over Juventus, they hosted Genoa in the decider. Fiorentina had just avoided relegation from Serie A, in a season which saw Giuseppe Galluzzi take over as manager from the Austrian, Rudolf Soutschek. Genoa, managed by the Englishman William Garbutt, had been disappointed to only finish fifth in the league and were expected to make up for that with a cup win.
The game was preceded by the final of the youth’s league, which Torino won 3-0 against Lazio. In the main event there would be just one goal for the crowd to enjoy, which included Italy’s manager Vittorio Pozzo. That goal came in the 26th minute, and it was Celoria, who had scored twice against Juventus, who grabbed the all-important goal. Fiorentina were presented with their trophy by the FIGC President, Giorgio Vaccaro, and could celebrate in Florence their first ever major trophy.
Just like their second Coppa Italia triumph in 1961, this one too had been achieved by beating Juventus at the semi-final stage. So, while recent history may not look favourably on our chances of beating the bitter enemy in the cup competition, a look back into our past proves that Fiorentina do indeed have a better record when the sides meet at the penultimate stage of the tournament.
Reasons to be cheerful?
Daniel Passarella, the Argentine fella, and Rino Marchesi when it’s a penalty
The brothers Pizziolo, Mario Perazzolo
Penzo and Menti, and Dante... Di Benedetti
And also, we’re Viola, we’re not gobbi