Late Goals Reanimate Dull Fiorentina – Genoa Match-Up

In the Serie A Monday night game, Fiorentina and Genoa shared the spoils at the Artemio Franchi Stadium at the end of a dull match that caught fire only in the last ten minutes, with Mario Pjaca opening the scoring for the visitors and Nikola Milenkovic drawing level from the very last chance.

It was a game that confirmed the problematic status of both sides, with neither the Grifone nor the Viola expecting to be battling to escape the danger zone after 10 Serie A rounds. Cesare Prandelli’s side were the most aggressive but confirmed how difficult it is for them to find the back of the net now that Federico Chiesa has left.

Rolando Maran and Genoa, on the other hand, were incapable to create any scoring chance for most of the 90 minutes, and only the late additions of Marco Pjaca and Mattia Destro managed to shake up the situation.

Prandelli lined up his Viola side with a 4-3-3 formation featuring an offensive trio with Franck Ribery, Dusan Vlahovic, and José Callejon (finally deployed in his natural position of right-winger).

Genoa – coming from four losses in a row – were still trying to put together the pieces of a roster maimed by multiple absences, including captain Domenico Criscito, Francesco Cassata, Davide Zappacosta and starting goalkeeper Mattia Perin.

Coach Ronaldo Maran confirmed his striking duo from last week, with Uzbek forward Eldor Shomurodov to support Gianluca Scamacca.

The match at the Artemio Franchi Stadium seemed off to an interesting start, with Genoa’s backup goalkeeper Federico Marchetti diving to deflect a long-range free kick effort that was becoming dangerous.

But it was a short illusion as most of the first half went by with no significant chance from either side. For Genoa, Gianluca Scamacca picked Stefano Sturaro with a back pass in the box, but the 27-years-old’s conclusion was weak and didn’t pose any threat to Bartlomjei Dragowski.

On 30 minutes, Gaetano Castrovilli picked Franck Ribery with a brilliant cross from the right side but the Frenchman’s volley was unworthy of his name. On the other side, Edoardo Goldaniga did the same with Gianluca Scamacca, with his headed effort also ending out of the target.

Both coaches were forced into substitutions before half time: Paolo Ghiglione came in for Cristian Zapata who suffered a hamstring injuy, whereas Giacomo Bonaventura replaced Castrovilli among the Viola lines.

Marchetti palming away a Dusan Vlahovic effort was the only additional noteworthy moment in a first period that confirmed both sides’ struggles to pose any threat to each other.

The restart saw Fiorentina playing a bit more aggressively and looking for an opener. On 54 minutes, Callejon whipped the ball in the box, looking for a headed conversion from Bonaventura but the former Milan midfielder failed to connect with it.

Two minutes later, Bonaventura was served again, this time by Caceres. The outcome didn’t change, with Ribery also failing to make the best out of Caceres’ suggestion. But now Fiorentina were at least trying.

Genoa, on the other hand, achieved their first corner kick in the 60th minute and that says a lot. Their attacking duo was evanescent and on 64 minutes Maran opted to substitute Shomurodov, bringing in former Juventus and Fiorentina man Marco Pjaca. Federico Marchetti also had to abandon due to an injury, giving the chance to third-choice Alberto Paleari to collect his second Serie A cap.

Things were just not going right for strikers as Vlahovic and Bonaventura managed to obstruct each other while the Croatian was ready to shot from point-blank range. Vlahovic also failed to convert a Ghiglione cross from a favorable position and when Fiorentina did finally find the back of the net in the 69th minute, Bonaventura’s winning effort was cancelled by the VAR as Jack was caught committing a foul in the build-up. 

More substitutions came in the 79th minute, with Cesare Prandelli sending in Borja Valero, Patrik Cutrone and Valentin Eysseric, while Rolando Maran answered by throwing Valon Behrami and Mattia Destro in the mix.

But you know, football is an unpredictable game. After Destro saw a goal-scoring effort ruled out on grounds of offside, Genoa put themselves ahead with six minutes to go, as Pjaca sneaked between Martin Caceres and Nikola Milenkovic to catch a pass from Destro and nutmegged Dragowski to gave the visitors a totally unexpected lead.  

With Fiorentina now in confusion, Genoa could have made two a couple of minutes later but the Viola‘s Polish goalkeeper managed to deny Mattia Destro on the counter.

The final stages of the game were a real thriller with Fiorentina finding a deserved equalizer from their very last effort. But Prandelli’s side had to shot on target three times before finally finding the back of the net. Paleari saved from Eysseric’s first effort, but Milenkovic was ready for a double tap-in, shooting again after his first effort was denied.

Cesare Prandelli thus managed to avoid his third defeat in a row, while Rolando Maran must be kicking himself considering what trend the match was taking. All in all, it was a draw that didn’t serve either side’s purpose and didn’t cast away any doubt about the two clubs’ consistency. 



December 7, 2020 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 10

SCORERS: 84′ Pjaca (G), 98′ Milenkovic (F)

FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Dragowski; Caceres, Milinkovic, Pezzella, Biraghi; Amrabat, Pulgar (92′ Kouamé), Castrovilli (41′ Bonaventura); Callejon (78′ Eysseric), Vlahovic (78′ Cutrone), Ribery (78′ Borja Valero) (Terracciano, Martinez Quarta, Duncan, Lirola, Venuti, Barreca, Igor) Coach: Prandelli
GENOA (4-3-1-2): Marchetti (64′ Paleari); Goldaniga, Bani, Zapata (36′ Ghiglione), Masiello; Lerager, Radovanovic (79′ Behrami), Pellegrini; Sturaro; Scamacca (79′ Destro), Shomurodov (64′ Pjaca) (Zima, Zajc, Pandev, Badelj, Rovella, Czyborra) Coach: Maran
REFEREE: Mr. Doveri from Rome
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Pulgar, Borja Valero, Sturaro; Extra Time: First Half 2′, Second Half 8′