Salah plays 81 minutes as Fiorentina beaten by Juventus
Fiorentina, who have been in a form slump in the Italian top flight as of late, have been fighting for a Champions League spot, with the loss now making it an uphill battle for the final spot in next season’s premier European competition.
Juventus started off looking for a win after a shaky period, losing two of their past three Serie A matches. Fiorentina however, were aiming to spoil the party, sending out an attacking lineup away from home in the hopes of gaining all three points. Salah, who previously tore Juventus apart in the Coppa Italia this season, was involved early on, linking up with team mates around the box within the first couple of minutes to no avail. La Viola had the lions share of possession early on, taking the game to Juventus.
After a cagey first 15 minutes the first real chance of the match fell to Spanish striker Fernando Llorente in the 18th minute for the hosts after a slick turn in the box bamboozled the Fiorentina defence. The tame shot on goal was saved by Neto, with Juventus stepping up their pace and directness in search of an opener. Juventus almost shot themselves in the foot in the 25th minute, with a quick free kick being played by the hosts in defence. Intercepted, Gomez managed to force a corner kick, with Badelj firing the cleared corner over the crossbar for Fiorentina. The game was set alight in the 31st minute, with Joaquin being blatantly fouled in the box by Andrea Pirlo. Rodriguez stepped up and drilled the penalty into the top right corner of the net, 1-0 to Fiorentina.
Less than a minute later controversy ensued, with Storari taking a dive after chasing down a long ball to earn a free kick for the hosts, with Neto being booked in the process. The cross from the free kick cam into the box, with Llorente heading home to restore parity for the hosts. Salah, who had been impressive, set his sights on goal in the 40th minute, with his shot ending up off target. A few minutes later and Salah was involved again, playing a quick one two in the box, but the La Viola was blocked, leading to a corner.
The last laughs went to Juventus though, with Carlos Tevez heading home a fantastic Patrice Evra cross on the stroke of half time to put the hosts 2-1 up at the break, now in control of the match.
The second half began as the first, with Fiorentina controlling possession early on as they did in the first half, looking for the equaliser. Patrice Evra received a yellow card in the 48th minute, cutting a La Viola counter attack off in the middle of the park with a foul on Alberto Aquilani. Salah had Fiorentina’s first chance of the half, skying the ball over the crossbar after receiving a square ball on the edge of the box. Mario Gomez was furious to not get a penalty in the 52nd minute after what appeared to be a tug by Patrice Evra in the box. Juventus made their first substitution of the match a couple of minutes later, with Arturo Vidal replacing Pirlo.
Fiorentina had a massive chance to get back in the game in the 65th minute, with Joaquin earning his side a second penalty. Rodriguez, who finished the first with aplomb, again went for power over accuracy and missed the target, with the score remaining 2-1.
La Viola’s misery was compounded minutes later, with Rodriguez miss coming back to haunt them. Tevez raced onto a through ball and finished brilliantly into the bottom left hand corner of the net to put the hosts 3-1 up, effectively sealing the game pending a minor miracle. Mario Gomez came off a minute later for Fiorentina in place of Giardino, with Fiorentina pressing for a goal to get back into the match.
Chances were few and far between following Tevez’s 2nd goal, with Juventus going into defensive mode trying to protect their 2 goal lead. Salah, who had been lively through, was substituted in the 81st minute, with Montella seemingly conceding defeat, looking to rest his key players for the next match. Ilicic pulled one back in the dying stages for Fiorentina with a sumptuous left-footed free-kick into the top left hand corner of the net.
Ilicic' superb freekick. https://t.co/uAfOOAi1f3
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) April 29, 2015
Four minutes of added time couldn’t produce anything else though, 3-2 it remained, with Juventus taking a step closer to the Serie A title, needing a win in their next match against Sampdoria to clinch it.
The loss compounds La Viola to their 4th Serie A defeat in a row, seemingly ending their chances of a Champions League berth. The Florence based side now lie 6th in the Seria A table, still vying for a Europa League spot. Their next match comes in 3 days time, with a home match against Cesena on the 3rd of May.
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