Neither manager sprung any significant surprises unless you want to call Christian Kouamé’s inclusion a surprise. The spotlight before kickoff was on the fans, though. First, it was Bologna’s traveling supporters who brought 6 busloads of supplies for those affected by the floods in Tuscany.
I tifosi del #Bologna Club Medicina, insieme ad altre associazioni del territorio, consegnano materiale a #CampiBisenzio.— Dario Baldi (@BaldiDario) November 12, 2023
Un bel gesto prima della partita contro la #Fiorentina #alluvione pic.twitter.com/962WGuzxsH
The choreography planned for the Juve game goes on display against Bologna in Florence - honouring 50 years of the Viola Ultras. pic.twitter.com/Q5j6Lhc6M4— Giancarlo Rinaldi (@ginkers) November 12, 2023
We got a clue as to how the game would go early on as Sam Beukema poked M’Bala Nzola in the eyeball but didn’t even get whistled for a foul. Fiorentina looked the better side, pinning Bologna back and creating a couple of half chances while not letting the Felsinei out of their own half. The pressure paid off when Nzola laid off a little pass for Giacomo “Only Scores Bangers” Bonaventura, and the newly (re-)minted Italy international responded with an absolutely insane finish into the top corner.
The cracks started showing not long after, mostly as a result of Lucas Martínez Quarta’s string of inexplicable errors and Fiorentina’s inability to connect the dots going forward. The equalizer, however arrived from the penalty spot, although it took a lengthy VAR check to see that Fabiano Parisi’s hand brushed a ball in the box. The impressive Joshua Zirkzee stepped up an slotted it home.
The penalty seemed to sap Fiorentina’s confidence, allowing the Felsinei to gain the upper hand. Referee Fabio Maresca then took center stage, first allowing Alexis Saelemaekers to smack Nicolás González in the face, bloodying his lip, without sending the Belgian off, which in turn allowed everyone to get into it, with Jack and Michael Aebischer both getting booked for some shoving. Saelemakers had a couple of huge chances, missing one and seeing Pietro Terracciano make a massive save on the other, before Riccardo Orsolini thought he had one right before the break, only for a late offside to rule the goal out.
It took halftime substitute Jonathan Ikoné all of 2 minutes to win a penalty as Victor Kristiansen grabbed a handful of his shirt in the box, giving Maresca no choice but to point to the spot. González made no mistake and handed his side the lead again as he gave Łukasz Skorupski no chance.
Maresca grabbed the spotlight back immediately, though, as he waffled around giving Bologna a penalty after Saelemaekers went down in the Viola box, wasting 5 minutes and never seeming like he had any real idea of what he was doing. That took the air out of the game and it felt like the Viola would see it out pretty effectively as the tempo dropped, although Terracciano did have to make another big save on Ferguson after the defense switched off late.
Goals: Bonaventura 17’ (ass. Nzola), González PK 48’; Zirkzee PK 33’
Cards: Bonaventura 45’+2, Ranieri 90’+5; Saelemaekers 36’, Aebischer 45’+2
The international break beckons, so some of these guys get a well-deserved break while others hop on planes and scatter across the globe. It’s nice to head into the pause with some momentum, though, especially with a win in a derby. Fiorentina really needed this after losing 3 straight in Serie A and did what was necessary to end Bologna’s 10-match unbeaten run.
The boys are back in action on 25 November with a trip north to take on a scuffling AC Milan, then back home for a Conference League clash with Genk. Until then, though, we can sleep tight, safe in the knowledge that Fiorentina will be no worse than 7th through this break, pending the result between AS Roma and Lazio. Not a bad day at all.