With both teams facing a host of injuries, Max Allegri and Vincenzo Italiano were forced into some odd choices; the former used Danilo at the base of midfield and the much-maligned Federico Bernardeschi on the wing, while the latter tried Jonathan Ikoné in midfield with Riccardo Saponara on the wing and Lucas Martínez Quarta as a late replacement for the illness-stricken Nikola Milenković.
From the opening whistle, it was clear that Juventus were just going to sit deep and lob passes over the top for Dušan Vlahović to chase, and that’s exactly what they did. The Viola had a chance to take an early lead after Mattia Perin spilled a corner to (who else?) Lucas Torreira, but the Uruguayan’s tap-in unluckily hit Arthur Cabral on the line, resulting in an offside whistle and a huge letoff. Fiorentina moved the ball around but conceded possession too easily, often allowing their hosts to find chances without any real creativity.
Bartłomiej Drągowski made a couple of decent saves in 1-v-1 situations, but made a big mistake in coming for an Adrien Rabiot cross that he missed; Cristiano Biraghi’s poor clearance dropped right to Bernardeschi, who volleyed it back over Bart, who seemed to misjudge the trajectory and conceded a pretty poor goal.
Fiorentina buckled a bit after that gut punch and Juve ventured a bit farther forward, but the good guys found their feet and put the Bianconeri back in the pressure cooker. Ikoné moved out to the right wing and Nico González shifted inside as a second striker, but this makeshift 4-4-2 resulted in a lot of crosses into the box, which Matthijs de Ligt and Leonardo Bonucci were pretty comfortable with.
The second half continued pretty much as the first had ended. The Viola carved out the occasional half chance, mostly through Cabral’s hard work, but they spent most of their time passing the ball around the Juventus half without offering much penetration. Indeed, it was Juve who nearly doubled their lead with 20 minutes left, as José Callejón, having literally just entered for Lorenzo Venuti, lost Adrien Rabiot on a cross to let the Frenchman tap home, but a VAR review correctly ruled that the midfielder was a fraction offside.
As Fiorentina were forced to throw more bodies forward, they left corresponding spaces at the back, and the Juvenuts had some chances on the break. It was deep into stoppage time when they finally made one count: Juan Cuadrado slalomed past two defenders and pulled it back for Danilo, who finished coolly across a helpless Drągowski to slam the door.
Goals: Bernardeschi 32’, Danilo 90’+4 (ass. Cuadrado)
Cards: De Sciglio 45’+2; Martínez Quarta 72’
Fiorentina drop out of the Coppa Italia, but can hold their heads high, given that they came in short-handed, deserved to win the first leg, and were the only team trying to play in the second. If they want to get into Europe, they’ll have to do it via the league now. With 6 games left and all of them against clubs either fighting for the scudetto, the top four, or survival, it’s going to be awfully tough. But we still believe.