Looking for their first major trophy (sorry, Copa del Sol) since 2001, Vincenzo Italiano picked his expected XI with the exception of Lucas Martínez Quarta, who stepped in for an out-of-form Igor in defense. Simone Inzaghi chose Samir Handanović in goal but otherwise trotted out his ideal starting lineup.
And hey, let’s talk about the Viola support in Rome. It was absolutely unbelievable that the fans turned the stadium into a carbon copy of the Artemio Franchi.
Ale aleeee #Fiorentina #SpaceViolapic.twitter.com/Rrt7sPJiw2— SpaceViola Fiorentina (@SpaceViola_) May 24, 2023
If this doesn’t give you chills, you are already a corpse. Get off the internet and get back in your coffin, accursed revenant.
L’entrata in campo della #Fiorentina per il sopralluogo prima della finale di #CoppaItalia con l’Inter. Tutta la carica della Curva vola che si sta riempiendo sempre più. #FiorentinaInter pic.twitter.com/dZ8lmmrZU4— Matteo Dovellini (@MatteoDovellini) May 24, 2023
Il Sindaco really thought he could sneak in without being spotted.
Borja Valero thought he could sneak in unnoticed to watch with the Viola fans...he was wrong#FiorentinaInter #CoppaItalia pic.twitter.com/rj9GQuII2R— Alasdair Mackenzie (@aksmackenzie) May 24, 2023
Fiorentina got out to a perfect start. Giacomo Bonaventura led a quick break and fed Jonathan Ikoné down the left, and the winger fired in a low cross to the back post that made its way to Nicolás González, who had run through unmarked and finished under Handanović. It took all of 210 seconds and sent the Viola contingent at the Olimpico into raptures.
Absolutely pathetic defending by pretty much the entire back 5.— Nima Tavallaey Roodsari (@NimaTavRood) May 24, 2023
All went missing & of course Handanovic doesn’t do saves anymore so of course Fiorentina score.pic.twitter.com/BOce6cIK4Y
The Viola remained much the better side for the ensuing minutes, with all 3 attackers looking really dangerous and Jack constantly jetting past Brozović, but Inter Milan weathered the storm and started looking for runners in behind. Martínez Quarta slipped to let Edin Džeko have a 1-v-1, but Pietro Terracciano made the stop. He was powerless, though, when Lautaro Martínez jetted past a slipping, sliding LMQ and smashed one past Terracciano to equalize.
Beautiful ball from Marcelo Brozovic and Lautaro Martinez gets a goal. 1-1.#CoppaItaliaFrecciarossapic.twitter.com/sCK9Tk39Rm— $ (@samirsynthesis) May 24, 2023
Inter continued to threaten on the break while Fiorentina pressed and tried to play through. It was a tense cat-and-mouse game that ended with Martínez adding another on a really nice finish after Nikola Milenković lost track of him.
When it comes to first time volleys, there’s no better striker in the world better than Lautaro pic.twitter.com/3hRwtQVHQv— Uncle $harma ️ (@RSharmzz) May 24, 2023
That felt like a killer blow and the half ended without any real further incident as the Viola dropped a bit deeper, seemingly hoping to get into the break without getting beaten again.
Inter almost immediately began looking to kill off the game and Fiorentina seemed uncertain about how to attack them, which resulted in a fair amount of sound and fury but little significance outside a bunch of corner kicks and some speculative efforts from González and Cristiano Biraghi. Inter had a couple chances on the break, too, but were more than happy to soak up pressure. Italiano made the attacking changes, bringing on Luka Jović as another striker in a 4-2-4, but the Serbian striker really let his side down, missing two gilt-edged chances, and that was pretty much that.
Goals: González 3’ (ass. Ikoné); 29’ Martínez 39’ (ass. Brozović) 37’ (ass. Barella)
Cards: Martínez Quarta 54’, González 90’
What’s next? A lot of crying, frankly. Half the team was in tears after the final whistle, and you can see why: this was a winnable game, and the only reason Fiorentina lost was individual errors. The players, staff, and fans put every bit of their heart and soul into this one and it just wasn’t enough. I’ll always believe that the Viola lost this rather than being beaten, but congratulations to Inter.
The Viola don’t get very long to mope. They’ve got AS Roma on Saturday in a match that means a lot more for the Giallorossi, then a trip to Sassuolo to close out the domestic season before the Conference League final on 7 June. Italiano will want to keep his boys sharp, but that last one is the only one that matters now.