Fiorentina Player Ratings vs. Club Brugge: Nzola Goal Gives La Viola Advantage

M’Bala Nzola’s 91st minute winner has given Fiorentina a one goal advantage in the Europa Conference League semi-final after a pulsating first leg at the Artemio Franchi Stadium ended in a 3-2 victory for the home side. For a while it looked as though Fiorentina might not be able to capitalise on an excellent first half performance and a red card shown to Club Brugge midfielder Raphael Onyedika, but Nzola’s neat side foot finish ensured La Viola travel to Belgium next Thursday with a lead to defend.

Straight away it was evident that this tie was to be entirely different from the quarter final against Viktoria Plzeň, where Fiorentina failed to break the Czech side down and required extra time to progress. Fiorentina’s Riccardo Sottil curled in a magnificent effort with four minutes gone before Club Brugge’s captain Hans Vanaken scored an equalising penalty on 17 minutes. Fiorentina went into half time with a deserved lead however, as Andrea Belotti scored an excellent goal on the half turn.

The second half was more tempestuous as Club Brugge effectively stopped Fiorentina from playing with niggly fouls and direct passing. This culminated in a red card being shown to young Raphael Onyedika who, moments after receiving a yellow card for catching Belotti in the face, committed a rash challenge against Lucas Beltrán. Very shortly after Onyedika’s dismissal however, Fiorentina were undone by a simple long ball and Brugge’s striker Igor Thiago made in 2-2 with a strong finish.

At 2-2 it looked set to remain as Fiorentina piled on the pressure without looking too threatening. But after a ball into Antonín Barák fell kindly to M’Bala Nzola, the Angolan forward finished well after his first effort rebounded off the post.

Lets have a look at our Fiorentina player ratings on a chaotic night at the Artemio Franchi Stadium:

Fiorentina (4-2-3-1)

Pietro Terracciano – 6

Did not have an awful lot to do on the night. Made a smart save from an Igor Thiago shot in the lead up to the awarding of Brugge’s penalty. Beaten by a cool Vanaken penalty and a strong finish from Thiago.

Dodô – 6

Was solid in defence but largely unconvincing in his ventures into the attacking third. Kept Brugge’s Ferran Jutglà pretty quiet throughout. Celebrated winning a throw with tremendous exuberance in the first half.

Lucas Martinez Quarta – 6.5

Decent performance from the Argentine centre-back. Used the ball well and won key aerial duels early on. Looked to step forward once Brugge had been reduced to ten men.

Luca Ranieri – 6

Very mixed day for the left sided centre-back. Was one of Fiorentina’s best players in the first half as his powers of recovery and excellent passing helped Fiorentina play out from the back and maintain a high line. Was embarrassed by Brugge’s second however, as he failed to deal with a simple high ball and let Igor Thiago in behind to score.

Cristiano Biraghi – 6.5

Gave away the penalty for a VAR-awarded handball which he could not have done much about. Remained a constant threat down the left flank, linking up well with Sottil and later Kouame. Delivery from corners and free-kicks was impressive.

Arthur Melo – 7

Exuded typical calm in a chaotic game. Looked to find runners in behind and spread the ball wide to the wings when he could. Fiorentina missed his cool head when Brugge went down to ten.

Giacomo Bonaventura – 6.5

An adventurous performance from the 34-year-old who was given license from Vicenzo Italiano to get forward and join the attack. Gave the ball away a few times on promising counter attacks but was largely effective in linking the midfield to the forward line.

Nicolás González – 5.5

Not the Argentine’s finest performance. Missed two presentable chances on his left foot in the first half and then cut a frustrated figure throughout the second. Sort of provided the assist for Andrea Belotti’s goal however as his miscued overhead kick acted as a perfect pass to the striker.

Lucas Beltrán – 5.5

A disappointing showing from Lucas Beltrán who, after a pretty anonymous performance, was substituted after 70 minutes. He worked hard as Fiorentina effectively executed the high press in the first half, but could not get on the ball enough to affect the game.

Riccardo Sottil – 8.5

An excellent performance from the 24-year-old winger which was cut short after a nasty landing on his shoulder forced his substitution with just 51 minutes gone. Scored an excellent curled effort early on in the first half and remained a constant threat, linking up with Biraghi down the left and cutting inside onto his right foot.

Andrea Belotti – 7.5 

Very much a game of two halves for the big man up top. Was close to flawless in the first half, holding the ball up brilliantly and scoring an excellent goal on the half turn. Missed chances to put Fiorentina further ahead however, including two good headed opportunities after good play from Bonaventura and Dodô respectively.


Christian Kouamé – 5.5

Came on for Sottil but struggled to affect the game. Sought to use his height as an extra aerial threat in the Brugge box.

M’Bala Nzola – 7.5

Nabbed the winner with one of his only touches of the game. Took his opportunity in a calm and collected fashion.

Antonín Barák – N/A

Jonathan Ikoné – N/A

Maxime Lopez – N/A




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