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Fiorentina vs Torino: Instant Reaction

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Fiorentina stop the rot, Sousa's men gain a valuable three points in what was billed as a crucial match for the Viola's seasonal ambitions.

Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Paolo Sousa made four changes to the starting line up that featured against AC Milan.The Portuguese manager brought in Joan Verdu for the suspended Matias Vecino, Gonzalo Rodriguez replaced Nenad Tomovic in the heart of the Viola defence, while Manuel Pasqual came in for Marcos Alonso. There was also a change up front with Khouma Babacar joining Nikola Kalinic to fashion a front two supported by Josip Ilicic floating between the lines.

In the sixth minute Torino were gifted an opportunity by the boot of the returning Gonzalo Rodriguez, Torino had flooded forward,out wide Ciro Immobile played the ball into the box, Gonzalo who was scampering back attempted to clear the ball only to see it wickedly slice off of his foot into the path of Davide Zappacosta, the Viola were fortunate that the Torino midfielder could not take better advantage of what was a gilt edged opportunity.

The first 15 minutes took on a familiar pattern for Viola fans with their team appearing disjointed in attack and slapstick at the back. Despite their shortcomings Fiorentina managed to weather Torino's attacking intent. In the 16th minute of the game the Viola were presented with two chances in quick succession. First Borja Valero found Davide Astori with a beautifully flighted cross only to see the Italian International head wide from close range. Really the centre back should have scored, or at the very least hit the target. Not thirty seconds had passed when some suspect passing from Torino's back line offered Josip Ilicic a marvellous opportunity to open the scoring, the Slovenian found himself in space with a clear shot on goal only to pull his shot wide of the target.

Fiorentina were starting to get into the game, synthesizing their authority into an attacking threat, this led to Federico Bernardeschi letting fly in the Granata box, his attempt though did little to trouble Salvador Ichazo in the Torino goal as the ball sky-rocketed off into the ether. The Viola's comfort level increased when in the 24th minute, with one of his trademark free kick's Josip Ilicic opened the scoring for Fiorentina. The mercurial midfielder has a penchant for the spectacular and this effort will seamlessly slot in to the Viola number 72's career showreel. It was a wonderful strike from a man whose discernible nonchalance can sometimes frustrate fans. That said it would be a harsh critic who would discount Ilicic's part in what has objectively been a brilliant first half of the season for Fiorentina. With this goal Ilicic took his tally to 10 Serie A goals this term, in terms of goalscoring the midfield maestro is enjoying his best ever season to date.

As the first half progressed both teams began to get to grips with one another and the game became more evenly balanced. Neither side were able to prise open their opponent's defence and the game became a little fractured with little fluidity on show. When referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni blew his whistle to indicate half time the teams went in with the Viola still leading by one goal to nil.

The second half began in earnest with the Viola on the front foot. Frustratingly for Viola fans when it came to the critical pass not for the first time this season the team were guilty of taking their eye off the ball. Torino almost caught out Fiorentina in the 51st minute when on the break Zappacosta found himself with enough room to whip in a majestic cross. The cross found Danieli Baselli free in the Viola box, Baselli's strike was crisp and low to Ciprian Tatarusanu's right, fortunately the Romanian goalkeeper's reaction speed was effective enough for him to get all of his 6 foot 4 inch frame down in time to repel the effort.

In the 66th minute the Franchi witnessed the introduction of new signing Tino Costa. In handing the Argentinian his Viola debut Sousa appeared to be opting for a more conservative approach replacing goalscorer Josip Ilicic in the process, New man Costa slipped in alongside Borja Valero with Verdu stepping up into the space vacated by Ilicic. Torino sensing the need for a change of direction themselves brought on Josef Martinez for Ciro Immobile and Marco Benassi for Afriyie Acquah.

The game once again took on a fractious feel with the referee doling out yellow cards for clumsy challenges. In the 81st minute Sousa looked to the bench again. The Franchi applauded Nikola Kalinic off of the field as new signing Mauro Zarate entered the fray for the first time in Viola colours.Hopefully he will continue to prove a lucky omen for Sousa's outfit as the new man had not been on the pitch a minute when Manuel Pasqual found the head of Gonzalo Rodriguez. The veteran left back's corner was an invitation that a free scoring centre back such as Gonzalo could not refuse, the Argentinian's header crashing in off the under side of the bar to give the home team a two goal lead.

With breathing space Sousa made his final substitution bringing on Jakub Blaszczykowski for Joan Verdu. Unquestionably this had not been a stellar performance by the men in purple but importantly it had been enough to stop the rot. After three defeats on the trot the Viola needed something from this game. This win will do the confidence levels of the side the world of good. As scrappy as the victory was, on the final whistle when the club anthem bounced around the stadium, a sense of calm seemed to be restored to what in recent weeks has been a stormy interlude in an otherwise sunny Viola season.

Looking at the final score Fiorentina 2-0 Torino is in itself quite a therapeutic process for fans of a Viola persuasion. With this result the team moves up to third position in the table. However with the majority of weekend fixtures still to be decided it remains to be seen whether they will maintain in that position come Sunday evening.