The main story was Walter Mazzarri moving to a 3-4-3, which is quite a departure from the setup that won the Scudetto. He also started ex-Fiorentina guys Pierluigi Gollini and Giovanni Simeone. Vincenzo Italiano didn’t do anything too wacky, given the lack of wingers available. Nico González, at least, made the bench, much to the delight of the handful of fans inside the cavernous KSU Stadium.
The game began far more open than expected: Napoli’s switch to 3 at the back meant a shortfall in midfield, allowing Fiorentina to break through the center several times via Jonathan Ikoné. The Viola seemed to be in control before a gorgeous pass from Juan Jesus carved the defense open and put Simeone (Fiorentina beffata) through on goal; the striker’s finish was really good and he was clearly delighted.
Giovanni Simeone GOLD pic.twitter.com/CHN1uHuRfa— Follow @footitalia1 (@footitalia2) January 18, 2024
Fiorentina nearly responded immediately through Lucas Beltrán, but Giacomo Bonaventura was offside and Federico La Penna correctly ruled it out. The rest of the half was pretty tame, with the Viola unable to create much, particularly through the middle (Stanislav Lobotka was imense), at least until the final moments of the half, when Alfred Duncan pinged one out to Jonathan Ikoné, who stepped past Mario Rui into the box until the Portuguese fullback “clipped” him. Much to everyone’s dismay, though, #ChaosJonny himself took the penalty and, well, you know. He did exactly what everyone assumed he would and put it right over the bar.
Fiorentina’s Ikone had the chance to make it 1-1 against Napoli but did this instead pic.twitter.com/Mqfhi6ayUi— Al Nassr Zone (@TheNassrZone) January 18, 2024
The half petered out after that. Fiorentina probably didn’t deserve to trail but also Jorko what are you doing?
Napoli sat deep and very narrow to soak up pressure, safe in the knowledge that the Viola wingers simply wouldn’t hurt them. The Viola created a couple of half chances but looked very open to the counter, which is, of course, exactly what the Partenopei wanted. The additions of Riccardo Sottil (finally returning from injury), M’Bala Nzola, and Fabiano Parisi added a bit of interest but not a lot of danger. Napoli put it to bed with a late goal off a corner, although it was hard not to worry that Alessio Zerbin hadn’t really injured himself after his head bounced off the post while scoring.
| GOAL: Zerbin doubles the lead!— TTS. (@TransferSector) January 18, 2024
Napoli 2-0 Fiorentina.
Turned out he was at least coherent enough to score a really nice goal on the break directly after jogging back on following a concussion check (which, watching his noggin bounce off the woodwork, I cannot imagine he was able to pass).
That was, as the saying goes, all she wrote. Fiorentina did some performative huffing and puffing but the lack of quality in the final third made was so obvious that nobody really believed it, and that’s how the game ended.
Goals: Simeone 22’ (ass. Juan Jesus), Zerbin 84’ (ass. Di Lorenzo) 86’
Cards: Biraghi 51’
Given my opinions about the new Supercoppa, I can’t pretend to be all that upset. Fiorentina will take the €1.3 million and head back to Italy, getting a bit of much needed R&R ahead of a date with Inter Milan. Hopefully that gives Nico González time to get fit. Really, though, it’s about getting some reinforcements for the attack at this point. Josip Brekalo and Ikoné are, quite simply, not it, and this team simply cannot sustain any aspirations beyond 8th place with that pair on the wing for another month or two.