Not since the days of Cosimo I the Great, founder of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, have the Florentines descended upon Siena with such ferocity and defeated them so entirely.
The fiercely contested Derby di Toscana is a hotbed of ancient rivalry where both sets of fans feel it imperative that defeat should be bestowed on their neighbours. This game was no different and with l’Viola pushing for a Champions League spot while Siena are trying to crawl from the bottom of Serie A the smart money was on the visitors.
After only 5 minutes a corner from Juan Vargas met the head of Alberto Gilardino which was blocked, only to find Per Koldrup at the far post to slide in. Siena tried hard to get back into the game and bad luck and Sebastien Frey kept them at bay, but on 28 minutes Mario Santana tapped in from a Koldrup header for number two. The third soon followed as Gianluca Curci’s inability to hold Adrian Mutu’s weak shot allowed Gilardino to creep in and slot home Fiorentina’s third. Siena now looked like a beaten side but after the break both keepers were called into action and made excellent saves. The fourth did come for l’Viola and it was Gilardino again, Comotto crossed for the in form striker to loop a magnificent header over Curci. By now it was becoming a rout and chance after chance seemed to arise until on 77 minutes Gilardino found himself one-on-one with Curci, his attempted scoop was saved and the rebound fell kindly for Mutu to happily obliged for five. There was a consolation for the home side as with six minutes to go when Koldrup slammed into Emanuele Calaio to give away a penalty. Massimo Maccarone stepped up and slotted home but Fiorentina were victorious and the white flags of the Siena faithful now looked like flags of surrender.
Alberto Malesani: “It was strange because we gave everything, but after a good start we were three goals behind, and from there it was more difficult. We were very careless on several occasions. Obviously, we cannot afford these errors, and today we have paid for them.”
Cesare Prandelli: “I do not like to win by so many goals, but football is so strange. There were things that were not positive – it is absurd to have three yellow cards at 5-0. We have to play simple and avoid making late fouls.”
It could be said that there would be no positives about loosing to your nearest rivals by a large score line and in some ways there are not. However, Siena had chances, twenty in total, but only five on target shows that being clinical is what they are lacking. Massimo Maccarone and Emanuele Calaiò are taking the full responsibility of trying to keep Siena in this division this term with 6 goals in 18 starts for Maccarone and 4 goals in 8 starts for Calaiò. The rest of the team are not helping out with goals and whilst the front two play well when they start together, it is the chances missed by their team mates that contribute to the position they are in. Another glaring weakness that was exposed in the derby was the back four, 33 goals conceded this term already makes them the worst in the division, and 16 of those at home make for a grim start to the New Year.
Fiorentina on the other hand played as they had at the beginning of the campaign, with style, elegance and ruthless efficiency in front of goal. Not one of the goals they scored could be considered spectacular as such but all were strikers goals, even the finish from Koldrup. This is a team who mean business in the second half of the season, a team who did not just beat the bottom team in the league but beat their local rivals in a derby where form is normally irrelevant. It’s true that the players may have been well rested especially missing the Milan game before the break. They now have moved up to 7th only one point off Parma and the European places and have a game in hand. Games at home to Bari and Bologna next will give L’Viola confidence especially if Alberto Gilardino adds to his 9 goal tally, the striker is playing with a confidence that was not seen in his time at Milan. Mutu as well now fully fit can hopefully add to his tally of 2 goals in 6 starts and continue to add to the positive feeling around the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Contrasting feelings will be felt in the under the Tuscan sun this week, as Fiorentina’s faithful celebrate inflicting a humiliating defeat on their local rivals the vanquished must lick their wounds and try to form a plan of saving not only their season but their very existence in Italy’s top flight. L’Viola have started this year with a bang and will be looking forward to upcoming League, Cup and European fixtures with optimism. Siena however, will be looking at the upcoming double header against Inter and Milan with a sense of foreboding that normally befits a forlorn hope. It is hard to see how on the last performance they will manage to salvage even a point, as the two Milanese giants will look to envelope lowly Siena in their quest to win Italy’s most coveted prize.
They have changed manager, they have altered tactics and now it is time for the players of Siena to stand up and be counted. Perhaps Siena should look towards a Florentine from history for inspiration and listen to Lorenzo I de’ Medici’s words
“In the dangerous circumstances in which our city is placed, the time for deliberation is past. Action must be taken”
Siena 1-5 Fiorentina – Per Koldrup 5, Mario Santana 28, Alberto Gillardino 36, 66, Adrian Mutu 79, Massimo Maccarone pen 84.
Siena Curci; Rosi, Cribari, Brandao, Del Grosso; Vergassola, Codrea, Jarolim (Jajalo 46); Reginaldo (Calaio’ 54), Paolucci (Ekdal 70), Maccarone
Fiorentina Frey; Comotto, Kroldrup, Felipe (Natali 64), Pasqual (Gobbi 51); Donadel (Jorgensen 51), Montolivo; Santana, Mutu, Vargas; Gilardino
Siena – Fiorentina
8 – Corners – 6
20 (5) – Shots (on target) – 14 (10)
14 – Fouls – 21
1 (0) – Yellow cards (Red) – 4 (0)
1 – Offside – 3