Vincenzo Italiano started Davide Faraoni and Fabiano Parisi at the back, but was forced into a change after Riccardo Sottil picked up an injury in the warmup; M’Bala Nzola replaced him, pushing Giacomo Bonaventura to the left and Lucas Beltrán to the 10 spot to accommodate the Angolan. Simone Inzaghi brought in Kristian Asllani, Davide Frattesi, Alessandro Bastoni, and Carlos Augusto, but these were all predicted.
Perhaps more interesting was the appearance of a leaflet imploring Rocco Commisso to “wake up,” which emphasized just how restless the Curva Fiesole is with the lack of reinforcements.
Fuori dal Franchi appare il volantino polemico della fanzine dei tifosi: “Commisso svegliati” https://t.co/4fgzEKLQ5Y— Labaro Viola Fiorentina (@LabaroViola_) January 28, 2024
Fiorentina nearly scored almost from kickoff when Bonaventura picked off a bad pass from Yann Sommer, but Nzola was offside and and had his close range effort saved anyways. He was offside again moments later, holding off Stefan de Vrij and finishing really neatly under Sommer, but the flag was up again. Inter Milan, having been warned, rolled forward. It was Marcus Thuram getting in behind and squaring for Carlos Augusto, but Faraoni somehow blocked the Brazilian’s effort at the open goal. That celebration didn’t last long, though, as Lautaro Martínez turned home Asllani’s corner at the front post, although Parisi thought he was fouled before the goal.
Lautaro Martínez goal to open the score! ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/L0BMMxdJ9O— Inter Xtra (@Inter_Xtra) January 28, 2024
Fiorentina responded well, pinning Inter back and making them look pretty nervous, with Nzola and Beltrán linking up cleverly a few times with Jack and Faraoni also impressing in the final third. Referee Gianluca Aureliano then declined to give the Viola a penalty after Alessandro Bastoni and Matteo Darmian independently dragged down Luca Ranieri and Bonaventura, respectively.
He also gave Bastoni just a yellow for a handball to block a pass that would’ve put Nzola through 1-v-1 just before the break. In fairness, Marcus Thuram did fully fall down when he was clean through on goal, letting the good guys off the hook. In short, it felt like Fiorentina trailed 0-1 to a 12-man opponent when the triple blast arrived.
After a quick delay due to a pitch invader, Inter took control again, albeit without the ball. The visitors were quite good at slowing things down without the ball, soaking up pressure, and then breaking forward, with Martínez and Thuram both having decent chances as the Viola defense got caught out several times; the biggest excitement was the return of Nicolás González after a lengthy absence. The drama resumed, though, when Yann Sommer crushed Nzola’s face with a double-fisted punch. Aureliano eventually gave the spot kick and it was none other than Nico to take, and he, well, he didn’t do very well.
That seemed to take the air out of the Viola sails. Although the good guys put the bad guys under siege and even generated a couple of minimal chances, it never felt like they’d get the breakthrough despite the barrage of balls lumped forward at the end. It was a noble battle but Fiorentina predictably fell just a bit short.
Goals: Martínez 14’ (ass. Asllani)
Cards: Ikoné 45’+2, Mandragora 90’+1; Bastoni 42’, Sommer 75’, Pavard 83’
It’s a gut punch of a loss after a courageous performance, but that doesn’t pay the bills; it’s now just 1 point from the past 3 Serie A matches, along with a big loss in the Supercoppa and a win on penalties in the Coppa Italia. The pressure on Italiano, his players, and Commisso is only increasing as fans see the Champions League slipping away; Fiorentina has now dropped to 6th, with just 3 points separating it from 10th-place Torino. Without a lot of work, it wouldn’t be that astonishing to see the Viola drop out of the European places entirely by the end of the season. That makes Friday’s trip to Lecce even more important.