The Gigliati held on till the last five minutes in Milan before capitulating to a Diego Milito penalty-kick as the absence of Stevan Jovetic and Adrian Mutu increased the gulf in talent between Inter and the visiting side. La Viola’s players held their own as far as the score was concerned, but only goalkeeper Sebastien Frey emerged with worthy credit as he kept the Nerazzurri at bay.
Fiorentina’s movement was quite limited upfront starving danger-man Alberto Gilardino from any noteworthy service and taking him out of the game until the last 10 minutes when his delightful move almost resulted in his side taking the lead. Unfortunately for Gilardino the post denied him the goal and la Viola went on to concede the penalty and lose the match. The early withdrawal of Marco Marchionni due to injury restricted the visiting side’s attacks even further as Coach Cesare Prandelli’s squad lost the pace and crossing ability of the winger.
The other source of threat for the Tuscan side was potentially Juan Manuel Vargas but he was effectively shut-down by the experienced and hardworking Javier Zanetti. Inter’s captain was perhaps one of the game’s most effective players alongside French custodian Frey from the opposite side. Zanetti continues to roll back the years and his performance showed he can still excel at the top level. The reality of the matter is Fiorentina came up against a stronger and deeper squad which may not be firing on all cylinders lately, particularly in European competition, yet the Nerazzurri remain the best equipped side to win the league title. Fiorentina’s Riccardo Montolivo, Cristiano Zanetti and Mario Santana are no match for la Beneamata’s Esteban Cambiasso, Dejan Stankovic and Sully Muntari in midfield. Argentine Cambiasso marshaled both Montolivo and Zanetti turning them into near spectators during the encounter.
Despite the 1-0 defeat courtesy of the spot-kick, Fiorentina’s defence failed to impress as Frey’s trusted gloves limited the score while captain Dario Dainelli, left-back Massimo Gobbi and right-back Gianluca Comotto all struggled to keep up with Inter’s forwards. Comotto was guilty of committing the late foul which resulted in the decisive penalty. Alessandro Gamberini’s replacement Danish defender Per Kroldrup emerged with some of his reputation intact as he executed decent challenges and crucially intervened towards the end of the first-half to deny Argentine striker Milito the opportunity to open the scoring.
Not many lessons can be derived out of this match as Prandelli acknowledges his side is not competing for the league title but rather focusing on finishing amongst the top four in order to qualify for the Champions League on a yearly basis. The capable Prandelli has most likely shelved this match and moved on as he looks forward to springing a surprise in Europe depending on the friendliness of the draw. The respected Coach will be looking to do the double over Liverpool in order to remain first in the group and potentially face a less dangerous side in the round of 16. At this stage it is hard to find any mediocre sides in the competition but Prandelli realizes Fiorentina’s best chance of causing an upset will be in Europe and not the domestic league. The Italian Serie A is a long campaign, while in Europe a fantastic result can tilt the balance of a two-legged round in favour of the club.
For the Florence side to emerge victorious against any team in the Champions League Prandelli must have a fully fit and healthy squad to choose from, meaning both Jovetic and Mutu will be needed. The attacking pair will have ample time to recover since the elimination round does not start before next year. With Juventus struggling and other teams predictably inconsistent, Fiorentina can still hope for a top four finish in Italy despite the latest setback at the Giuseppe Meazza. There is no denying Fiorentina have enough talent to play against any team in Italy aside from Inter as witnessed by la Viola’s draw with Juventus in Turin.
Next up for the club will be a home match against Atalanta which must yield three points or else Prandelli will begin to worry about the wasted points at home as his side drifts into lower positions in the league. Prandelli acknowledges the funding is not on the same level as Inter but is aware la Viola are in with a chance to make some noise in Europe to lure some new names and keep his current crop of stars happy. Qualifying to the top European competition will be the priority once again and anything more would be a bonus.
Fiorentina Club Focus
Viola continue to grind out results – September 15, 2009
La Viola lose Gilardino and the points – September 18, 2009
Fatigue catching up with la Viola – September 22, 2009
Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria – September 25, 2009
La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut – September 29, 2009
The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence? – October 2, 2009
Two points lost and a wasted opportunity – October 6, 2009
Good news all round – October 9, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer rumours abound as Gilardino fires la Nazionale to South Africa – October 13, 2009
Gilardino shines again as la Viola eye the Bianconeri’s scalp – October 16, 2009
La Viola holds firm against Juventus – October 20, 2009
Crucial win over Debrecen, Manchester United prepare bid for Jovetić? – October 23, 2009
La Viola going through a rough patch – October 30, 2009
Marchionni brace completes Fiorentina rebound – November 3, 2009
Prandelli and co. march on against Debrecen – November 6, 2009
La Viola edge Udinese as Marchionni and Montolivo earn Azzurri recall – November 10, 2009
Vargas to stay as Prandelli praises Jovetic – November 20, 2009
Injuries taking their toll as Lyon clash looms – November 24, 2009
la Viola through to the round of 16 in Europe – November 28, 2009
La Viola’s resistance broken from the penalty spot – December 1, 2009