Both managers had to shuffle the lineup, with Stefano Pioli turning to Luka Jović (Fiorentina beffata!) to lead the line in the absence of any other options and Vincenzo Italiano opting for Fabiano Parisi at rightback and Riccardo Sottil on the wing; it was a slight surprise for Rocco Commisso’s 74th birthday.
It was the kind of game that commentators call “cagey” because it sounds nicer than “watching two teams punch themselves in the crotch.” There really wasn’t anything worth mentioning until late in the half, when Pietro Terracciano made a couple of very good saves. He didn’t have any chance to do anything after a defensive lapse allowed Theo Hernandez in behind, where Parisi dragged him down in the box for the most obvious of penalties that the fullback duly slotted home just before the break.
Nico González got in behind moments into the second half and laid it off for Beltrán, but el Vikingo’s touch let him down 1-v-1 and allowed Mike Maignan to smother the ball. That was about how the half would go, as the Viola pinned their hosts back, winning 9 corners in the half. There was a decent handball shout that Marco Di Bello eventually waved off after a glance from the VAR, but Ruben Loftus-Cheek must have been sweating bullets; it wasn’t much of a handball but we’ve seen dumber ones given against Fiorentina in the recent past.
The assault on goal continued with Maignan looking deeply uncomfortable, making a string of errors as AC Milan turtled all the way in aside from a 1-v-1 where Terracciano stopped Jović, which felt quite nice indeed. Still, it was one-way traffic, but it just wasn’t Fiorentina’s day. Mbala N’Zola swung and missed at a decent chance (after some good work to get himself in position), Nico saw a cross deflected off the upright, Christian Kouamé couldn’t react quickly enough to a ball dropping right on his foot from a corner, and Rolando Mandragora smashed an unmarked, point blank effort right off Maignan’s face. It was just that kind of day, and the full time whistle merely confirmed what we’d known for quite some time.
Goals: Hernandez 45’+2
Cards: Tomori 56’; Arthur 12’, Parisi 45’+1
Fiorentina head back to the friendly confines of the Artemio Franchi for a Europe League clash with Genk; a win would secure first place in Group F and allow Italiano to rotate for the final matchday at Ferencváros, which sure would be nice. After that Thursday match, it’s back to Serie A action with a visit from Salernitana.