Away trips to Juventus don’t usually bring much satisfaction to Fiorentina. We have had just one victory in the last 30 years, and that goes back to over 12 years ago, when current manager Cesare Prandelli was in charge.
In the 2007/08 season this was a Fiorentina side in a battle for a Champions League place with AC Milan. Coming into this game on Sunday March 3rd, Fiorentina were in fourth position, one point ahead of Milan who had been held to a 1-1 draw by Lazio the night before, and just four points behind Juventus in third.
Juventus had returned to Serie A this season after their forced experience of Serie B, and were coming off the back of a scoreless draw at home in the midweek Turin derby, and before this had lost at Reggiana. Fiorentina had held them to a 1-1 draw at home back in October, so they went into this one with maybe a little more optimism than Viola teams usually do when travelling to Turin to take on their bitterest rival.
Fiorentina had won their midweek game at home to Livorno, with substitute and January signing Papa Waigo getting the only goal of that game. He was still left on the bench for this trip however. Adrian Mutu was unavailable through injury while Christian Vieri was left out of the squad by Prandelli for technical reasons. Franco Semioli was another player out for this one after picking up an injury in that win over Livorno.
Mario Santana did return for this game, and Giampaolo Pazzini was preferred up front, but it would be the two substitutes Papa Waigo and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo who would have the biggest influence on this game.
It was Fiorentina who took the lead inside the opening twenty minutes, the unfortunately named Massimo Gobbi playing a 1-2 with Martin Jørgensen before slotting the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon. That lead lasted just ten minutes, though Fiorentina could have doubled their lead but for a Buffon save from Riccardo Montolivo. The equalizer came after a free kick floated into the box was met by Sebastian Frey, his attempted punched clearance was weak, and he found himself completely out of position for Mohamed Sissoko’s overhead kick.
The sides level 1-1 at the break, but twelve minutes into the second-half and it looked like normal service would resume when Cristian Molinaro’s cross into the box found Mauro Camoranesi, left unmarked as the Fiorentina defense picked up Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet. The Argentinian made no mistake and Juventus were in front.
Five minutes later and Prandelli decided to throw on Osvaldo in place of Tomáš Ujfaluši and after another five minutes Santana made way for Papa Waigo as Fiorentina went in search of an equalizer. Only on the pitch eight minutes and it was the Senegalese, who had already scored two goals against Juventus in Serie B with Cesena the previous season, whose right foot shot beat Buffon.
As the game went into added time and looked to be heading for a draw, the two subs combined to grab a historic winner. Osvaldo in the box played the ball out to Papa Waigo and his cross back in was met by the diving head of Osvaldo and Buffon was beaten for a third time. Osvaldo enjoyed this one so much that he got himself sent off, pulling off his jersey as he celebrated in the machine gun style of Batistuta, he earned himself a second yellow card. An act which could certainly be understood and forgiven by the Viola fans.
The fans definitely enjoyed this one, and the team were welcomed back at the airport that night by the fans still celebrating this historic and rare win at Juventus. Even getting a draw away to our rivals has not been easy, since that victory, we’ve only managed two draws in twelve games, and they came in successive seasons.
The first of those was another from that Prandelli era. In October 2009 the sides were level on 14 points going into the Saturday evening game, Juventus in third place, ahead on goal difference. Ciro Ferrara was in charge at Juventus having taken over from Claudio Ranieri the previous season, and his side had hit a rough patch. Having won their opening four league games, they had now drawn two and lost one in the next three. That defeat came in the previous game away to Palermo. Fiorentina meanwhile also had just one defeat in their opening seven games, away to Roma.
Having finished fourth the previous season, Fiorentina were also taking part in the Champions League and had made the group stage having overcome Sporting Lisbon on away goals. At this stage of the season they had lost the opening group game 1-0 away to Lyon but then had a famous 2-0 victory over Liverpool at the Franchi, the reds beaten by two goals from Stevan Jovetić.
The Fiorentina side that took the field in Turin included two players who had just joined from Juventus, Marco Marchionni and Cristiano Zanetti, while Felipe Melo was in the Juventus team having made the move in the opposite direction. Adrian Mutu was on the bench but he would make an appearance in the second half, replacing Santana, Alberto Gilardino was up front for the Viola while Vincenzo Iaquinta and Amauri lead the forward line for the home side.
The opening goal came after only five minutes, when Jovetić played a beautiful ball to the feet of Vargas who got the better of both Giorgio Chiellini and Buffon to grab his first league goal of the season. That lead lasted less than fifteen minutes before Amauri with his first goal in over seven months got Juventus back on level terms. No further goals, and both sides had to settle for a point each. Fiorentina did look to have found a winner but it was ruled out for a supposed foul by Dario Dainelli on Chiellini when in reality it was probably the other way around.
Juventus ended that season in a disappointing seventh place, while Fiorentina finished in eleventh, and this was to be the end of the Cesare Prandelli’s time in charge, until his recent return that is. So when Fiorentina travelled to take on Juventus in November 2010 it was Siniša Mihajlović who would end up taking the last point we have managed to win away to our rivals.
Ten years ago, but some things haven’t really changed. At the time the Della Valle brothers were in disagreement with the Florence mayor over the issue of a new stadium. There was also a Polish goalkeeper who would end up being one of the most important players in this game against Juventus. Mihajlović, although only with Fiorentina a few months was already being touted as a future manager at the Turin club, and those same rumours didn’t end well for Prandelli. The Serbian however, talking before the game, pledged his allegiance to the Viola, stating that he would never speak to another club while he was in charge at Fiorentina.
The manager was dealing with quite a few important injuries at the time, Jovetić, Mutu, Montolivo, Zanetti and Frey just some of the players not available. Artur Boruc had been brought in from Celtic and took his place between the posts while Adem Ljajić, Gilardino, Santana and Vargas would be hoping to provide the firepower which they were missing in the previous game, going down 1-0 to Milan at the San Siro.
Just like the season before, it was a very early goal which gave Fiorentina the lead against Luigi Delneri’s side, and just like in that game it was Juan Vargas who was the protagonist. This time it was his cross in the fourth minute which was headed into his own net by Marco Motta. Unlike the previous season Juventus didn’t get an equalizer until late in the game.
Boruc had made a string of impressive saves from the likes of Del Piero, Iaquinta and ex Viola Fabio Quagliarella. One of the last saves before Juventus finally scored was from another former Fiorentina player, Giorgio Chiellini. His shot from the edge of the area went through a sea of Fiorentina bodies, but Boruc managed to get down and stretch far enough to turn it behind for a corner. He seemed to signal to the bench that he had hurt his shoulder making that save, and maybe it affected his reactions when the home side scored shortly afterwards.
A free kick was awarded after a foul by Gianluca Comotto with just eight minutes remaining and Fiorentina still hanging on. Simone Pepe who had replaced Alberto Aquilani in the second half, was expected to float this free from out wide into the danger area. Instead it looped over Boruc and broke Viola hearts. Six minutes later and another substitute, this time Fiorentina’s Felipe, was in the action, when he got himself sent off. The very last action was a free-kick from Gaetano D’Agostino who almost gave Fiorentina a late late winner, but Marco Storari managed to knock it away before Paolo Valeri blew the final whistle.
When Prandelli’s team won in 2008, it had been Fiorentina’s first league win away to Juventus in almost 20 years. We need to go back to May 1988 and the final day of the season for the previous win. Sven-Göran Eriksson’s side didn’t really have anything to play for at this stage in the league table, but a match against our rivals is never just another game.
The home side on the other hand were desperate to get a result here which in the end would have meant qualification for the UEFA Cup without needing a play-off against Torino to get there. Fiorentina the previous week had already put a final nail in the coffin for Napoli’s hopes of retaining the title with a 3-2 win in Florence on the same day that league leaders Milan played out a scoreless draw with Juventus.
This was the only season for Liverpool legend Ian Rush in Serie A, the Juventus fans believed they had found a new John Charles, but his fellow Welshman Rush only managed seven league goals and was sent back to Liverpool after this season. He did manage a shot that hit the post and a header off the crossbar in this game, but it was Fiorentina’s Roberto Baggio who grabbed the headlines.
Just after the half hour mark Baggio entered the opposition area, his left foot dribbling the ball away from Pasquale Bruno before leaving him for dead when he turned back and hit a right foot shot which Stefano Tacconi didn’t even have time to react to. 1-0 Fiorentina and it stayed that way until fifteen minutes from the end. Alberto Di Chiara picked the ball up on the wing and after a long run he made his way into the box unchallenged and let fly with a shot to double the Viola lead.
Three minutes later and Juventus were thrown a lifeline when Luigi de Agostini’s penalty beat Marco Landucci in the Fiorentina goal but the Viola held on for a win and a great end to the season, but they finished in eight place, outside of European qualification.
We can count the only other Fiorentina victories away to Juventus on one hand. In the 1984/85 season, Giancarlo De Sisti’s team had a 2-1 win over Giovanni Trapattoni, in a game where both Stefano Pioli and Cesare Prandelli came on as substitutes for the home side. Even though they took the lead after only three minutes through Massimo Briaschi, Juventus went down to goals from Luca Cecconi in the first half and Daniel Passarella in the second.
There was a 4-0 away win early in Fiorentina’s first ever Scudetto winning season of 1955/56 and our very first victory at the home of Juventus came with a 3-2 win in the 1940/41 season. But the most celebrated of our six victories to date was without a doubt the 2-0 win on the penultimate Sunday of the 1968/69 season.
When second placed Milan were held to a scoreless draw on the Saturday by Napoli, and third placed Cagliari also had a 0-0 draw at home with Sampdoria on Sunday, this victory gave Fiorentina their second Scudetto. Both goals came in the second half, from Luciano Chiarugi and Mario Maraschi. The team were greeted on their return to Florence by thousands of fans and those fans celebrated long into the night on May 11th 1969. They even tried to enter Palazzo Vecchio to place a Viola flag on the tower but were stopped by the guards on service, but nobody could prevent them partying all over the city. They were even there at four in the morning when the team eventually returned to the stadium. That flag by the way was flown from the Palazzo Vecchio the following day.
So there we have it, just six victories away to Juventus in 81 Serie A games. Cesare Prandelli was the last man to lead a team to victory at his former club, who knows, maybe he can pull off a most unexpected result here as the perfect Christmas gift for all Fiorentina fans!