The Fiorentina-Juventus match-up is an old rivalry, but it only recently became relevant again. Following the debacle with Dimitar Berbatov in the summer of 2012, many thought it couldn’t have gotten any worse.
Juve apparently hijacked a deal between the Viola and the Bulgarian, with both owners weighing in. The game between the two last September at the Artemio Franchi finished 0-0, it marked the 14th straight year that the Tuscans failed to win at home against the Bianconeri.
This time around, it would be different. Giuseppe Rossi arrived this past January for a cut-throat fee, add in the additions of Mario Gomez (who’s close to returning from a leg injury) and other depth options like Josip Ilicic, the Florentines entered this season as a much stronger side than before.
Many wondered about Juventus’ defence entering Sunday. They had conceded six goals through seven matches, which isn’t terrible, but considering they allowed just 20 all of last year, it’s a slight worry that they’ve suddenly declined.
Juve also have a clash against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday, so a lot of Juventini and pundits alike questioned how much effort they would put into their weekend tilt.
The opening 35 minutes were balanced, but Fiorentina had the slightly stronger start. However, the defence and goalkeeping was still shaky. Thankfully, they kept a “0” on the score sheet at the Artemio Franchi.
Eventually, the visitors found the breakthrough. Gonzalo Rodriguez hacked at Carlos Tevez’s leg, which led to referee Nicola Rizzoli calling a penalty. It appeared weak, but nonetheless, the Argentinean converted from the spot to make it 1-0.
Just moments later, that leaky defence reared it’s ugly head again. Juan Cuadrado tried to clear the ball out of his own box with a sliding tackle, but Neto called for it late, leaving the goal open. The Colombian sliced it, allowing Paul Pogba to score on an open net.
The second half began slowly, as everyone could see that Juve were well on their way to another victory. Not since 1998 had Fiorentina won against The Old Lady at home, so it was looking grim.
Then, Matias Fernandez won a penalty via a Kwadwo Asamoah challenge. Rossi converted it, cutting the lead in half. He popped up again a few minutes later with a shot from distance. Buffon should’ve saved it, but couldn’t see it until late. Nonetheless, Fiorentina tied it up and looked destined to take the lead.
The inevitable, in fact, happened. Borja Valero found substitute Joaquin all alone on the right side of the box. The winger made no mistake and scored the third goal in 12 minutes to give Fiorentina an improbable lead.
Rossi would add another off a counter attack, clinching the victory. It was Juve’s first defeat since February, and marked the first time in 38 years that the Viola had scored four goals against the Bianconeri. It was a monumental day for every supporter.
Other talking points
- Roma made it eight wins in eight matches with a 2-0 triumph over Napoli on Friday. The Giallorossi are now leading Serie A by five points, while Napoli remain in second, leading Juventus by goal difference.
- Inter came back from 2-1 down with 10 men to draw 3-3 with Torino at the Stadio Olimpico. Rodrigo Palacio scored a brace to salvage a point for the Nerazzurri.
- AC Milan won ugly 1-0 over Udinese at the San Siro, they did so without the likes of Mario Balotelli, but with Barcelona coming up midweek, they’re going to need all the help they can get if they want to get a result.
- Sassuolo defeated Bologna 2-1 in a battle of lowly clubs. That loss means that Bologna are now bottom of the table, and Stefano Pioli is now in the hot seat.
- Cagliari ousted Catania 2-1 in their return to Sardinia. Rolando Maran was sacked the next day and was replaced by Luigi De Canio. The former Udinese bench boss will coach his first game with the Rossazzurri against Sassuolo, a team he was linked with just a week ago.
Atalanta 2-1 Lazio; Genoa 2-1 Chievo; Hellas Verona 3-2 Parma; Livorno 1-2 Sampdoria