clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fiorentina 2-1 Genk: Match report and highlights

The Viola didn’t make it easy on themselves but eventually dug out a well-earned victory.

ACF Fiorentina v KRC Genk: Group F - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Pre-match

Vincenzo Italiano made a bunch of changes: Oliver Christensen, Yerry Mina, Maxime Lopez, Antonín Barák, Jonathan Ikoné, and Christian Kouamé all started, while Fabiano Parisi continued at rightback. Wouter Vrancken, on the other hand, didn’t spring any major surprises.

First half

It was Genk getting off to the hot start, pinning Fiorentina deep and forcing turnovers in midfield, just as we’d foreseen. One of those led to Alieu Fadera getting in behind and pinging his finish off the upright while 1-v-1 with Oliver Christensen, and the Dane had other work to do too. The Viola clawed back into the match after a quarter hour or so, though, and pushed the Smurfs back a bit without creating much. The real drama came from Fadera: he was booked after 20 minutes, then committed not 1, not 2, but 3 fouls in 5 minutes, prompting both managers to lose their minds and get booked. Vrancken ended up giving the Gambian the hook before referee Joey Kooij decided enough was enough.

And right on cue, Christopher Bonsu Baah (who’d just stepped on the field) played a couple passes back and forth with Joris Kayembe, culminating with the fullback dipping inside, leaving Lucas Martínez Quarta for dead, and finishing over Christensen. It was a bit against the run of play but Fiorentina couldn’t claim that Genk hadn’t given them fair warning.

[editor’s note: ain’t no video of this goal so maybe it didn’t even happen? let’s talk to UEFA]

The hosts turned the screws right afterwards, winning a succession of corners. Barák forced a good save from Hendrik van Crombugge on one, but it wasn’t enough. From the following corner, Mina snapped a header on frame that the goalkeeper could only parry back out, straight into Martínez Quarta’s path, and the Argentine got to quench is all-consuming goal thirst right before the break.

Second half

Fiorentina came out looking a lot better. Barák was unlucky to see another header from a corner saved, while Ikoné made a hash out of a very good chance on the break after Kouamé hooked one into him in the penalty box. Italiano made some fun changes, bringing in Carlos Beltrán and Arthur to create something resembling a 4-4-2, and after a long period of pinning Genk back, it paid dividends: a lovely flowing counterattack went through Arthur, Beltrán, and Ikoné before Mujaid Sadick chopped down Michael Kayode (welcome back, kid) in the box, and there was never any doubt that Nico would slot it home, was there?

Genk got desperate and hurled bodies forward but never looked like breaching Christensen’s goal again. Indeed, the real drama was the appearance of genuine distaste that the sides displayed for each other: 8 yellow cards from the 89th minute on really took the sting out of things, but when the triple blast finally arrived, it certainly felt like Fiorentina deserved the win.

Full time

Goals: Martínez Quarta 45’+4, González PK 82’; Kayembe 45’ (ass. Bonsu Baah)

Cards: Martínez Quarta 28’, Italiano 41’ (lol), Milenković 90’+2, Biraghi 90’+7, Kouamé 90+7; Fadera 20’, Vrancken 37’ (lol), Muñoz 81’, Hrošovsky 89’, Paintsil 89’, Zeqiri 90’+2, Galarza 90’+4, Cuesta 90’+6

What’s next

Fiorentina’s unbeaten run in Group F continues and now has the Tuscans sitting top of the pile with 11 points. A win or a draw in Budapest in a couple weeks will confirm first place in the group, but the Viola will advance to the knockout rounds even with a loss, so there’s not too much pressure for that one, at least. That may make the absence of Cristiano Biraghi (suspended for accumulated yellow cards) a bit easier to swallow.

More immediately, Fiorentina get to stay home for a clash with last-place Salernitana on Sunday, with a Coppa Italia fixture against Parma looming on Wednesday. Indeed, it’s two games a week until Christmas, when the boys get a week-long break. But hey, a tough win like this helps erase some of the angst from the AC Milan game.