Vincenzo Italiano welcomed Nicolás González back to the XI while handing Lucas Beltrán the start as the 10 behind Andrea Belotti, making his first home start for an embattled Fiorentina. Eusebio di Francesco changed things up, going to a 4-4-2 with the ex-Viola quartet of Michele Cerofolini, Pol Lirola, Giuseppe Caso, and Jaime Báez all on the bench.
Fiorentina came firing on all cylinders, with Beltrán smacking an early corner off the crossbar as the hosts took control and never really relinquished it. The goal came from a magnificent run from Jonathan Ikoné, who blazed his way down the pitch, turned the corner, and laid it off to Belotti to score his first Viola goal. Il Gallo deserves credit for a joyful celebration under the Curva, and it felt like Chaos Jonny had earned a measure of redemption as well.
He earned quite a bit more just moments later, scoring his first Serie A goal of the season. In trademark fashion, it was a weird one, taking a big deflection off Caleb Okoli. Still, they all count on the scoreboard and Ikoné needed a goal as badly as any Viola player in recent memory, so it was hard not to be delighted for him.
Frosinone forged a few chances but it was really the Viola show as the attacking quartet combined really nicely and cut through the Ciociari time and again; it felt like the good guys were more likely to add a third than concede one, and it was a clinical Argentine who turned it into a route just before the half. No, not González or Beltrán. It was, of course, Lucas Martínez Quarta with a thumping header off a corner that smashed the bar and bounced in; Stefano Turati clawed it back out, but the goal line technology indicated that it had crossed all the way in first, giving LMQ his 4th of the year.
With the outcome already decided, Frosinone came out the gates blazing and pinned a slightly-complacent Fiorentina back, but it felt like the hosts could turn it on at any moment. Turn it on they did, as the visiting defense failed to cope with a cross, allowing Alfred Duncan to head it to González. Nico did the rest, leathering a right-footed volley that rocketed past Turati. As the adulation of the Curva Fiesole washed over him, everything in the world returned to balance for just a moment.
This being Fiorentina, that moment was all too brief. LMQ tried to dribble in his own box and Kaio Jorge picked his pocket, but Pietro Terracciano made the close range save. Ikoné chopped down Luca Mazzitelli in a perfect spot for a free kick and the midfielder duly slotted it home, although it took a deflection off Nikola Milenković in the wall to send Terracciano the wrong way.
Kaio Jorge had another chance moments later to halve the deficit but somehow failed to score a free header from point blank range, nodding it straight at Terracciano. That woke Fiorentina right back up and the boys didn’t falter again, creating several chances with Beltrán, Giacomo Bonaventura, Cristiano Biraghi, and Arthur leading the charge. The final goal, though, was about as goofy as it could’ve been: Nzola failed to score Jack’s lovely low cross, leading to a scramble in which Mazzitelli doinked a clearance off Antonín Barák’s head. The ball then hit Okoli (again) and trickled over the line with Turati out of the action for a comical sequence, but at least the Czech had his first league goal in a year.
That wrapped things up nicely, although Nzola did manage to get himself a late card for no real reason. At full time, nobody could argue that Fiorentina hadn’t been miles better and earned that big scoreline, even if some of the goals were pretty fluky; this team deserved some luck after an unfortunate month; so long as there’s still some left in the tank, it’s hard not to feel good about things.
Goals: Belotti 16’ (ass. Ikoné), Ikoné 19’ (ass. Duncan), Martínez Quarta 43’ (ass. Biraghi), González 53’ (ass. Duncan), Barák 85’; Mazzitelli 66’
Cards: Martínez Quarta 4’, Terracciano 68’, Nzola 90’+2; Romagnoli 50’
A midweek clash at Bologna beckons and the Oscar Meyers will doubtless be fired up for the Derby dell’Appennino after losing twice to Fiorentina this season. Next Sunday brings another derby, this time of dell’Arno at Empoli, so expect a lot of intensity over the next few days in the buildup, making a fun and easy win even more important here, especially since it was Fiorentina’s first victory of 2024 after a miserable January.
The result’s nice too. The Viola are back up to 6th for now with 37 points, although Bologna and Napoli could still pull ahead by the end of the match week. Getting Nico’s first goal in 10 weeks (his 7th in Serie A and 9th overall this year) felt good. Getting Belotti’s first in the shirt felt good. Getting Barák’s first in the league in nearly a year and first overall in almost 9 months felt great. Getting Ikoné’s first in the league and first in almost 3 months was such a relief. Getting LMQ’s felt inevitable.