The big news was a debut for brand new signing Antonín Barák. Neither manager really sprung any big surprises other than that.
It was much more scruffy than anything else, with André-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s first minute booking for spiking Lucas Martínez Quarta in the ankle setting the tone. Neither team did much with the ball, truth be told, as Fiorentina pressed Napoli quite well without ever creating much. Riccardo Sottil had a few tame pops, one of which Alex Meret inexplicably spilled (although the Viola couldn’t turn home the loose ball), but that was about it. The Partenopei had a few chances as well, including one in which Victor Osimhen put the ball in the back of the net but was correctly flagged offside. The whistle came at the right time, as both LMQ and Pierluigi Gollini had pretty serious hiccups to let the visitors in just before the break.
The second period began much like the first, with both teams personifying sound and fury but signifying nothing. Chucky Lozano somehow missed a free header on the back post for the best chance of the game, and Barák dragged a shot wide moments later on the break. Really, though, there was desperately little calcio on display for the final 20 or so minutes, as referee Livio Marinelli lost track of things and let both sets of players get away with a lot of wild stuff, although it felt like Napoli in particular were allowed to hack their opponents time and again without penalty.
Cards: Martínez Quarta 60’, Jović 68’; Anguissa 3’, Spalletti 17’ (lol), Raspadori 90’, Ndombele 90’+2
Credit to Vincenzo Italiano for coming up with a gameplan to neutralize Napoli, who’d scored 9 goals in their previous 2 matches, and credit to his players for executing it brilliantly. Still, the stickiness in attack is a little concerning. It feels like picking nits, though, since Fiorentina are still undefeated on 5 points. Of course, they do get a Wednesday clash at Udinese and then another one on Saturday against Juventus, so it’s still very easy to feel anxious about them; this squad clearly has a lot of talent but hasn’t quite put it all together yet.