Italian Serie A: Fiorentina 3-0 Reggina
Fiorentina returned to Serie A action on October 18 with a convincing 3-0 victory over a 10-player Reggina. After failing to score for Italy in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers, Viola striker Alberto Gilardino needed only 18 minutes to score two times, turning disappointment into success for the Viola. Gilardino had been called in to substitute Giampaolo Pazzini, who had opened the scoring with a late first-half goal. It is worth mentioning that the goalkeeper for Reggina was sent off the pitch for a challenge on Mauro Santana, leading to the Viola's opening goal. Viola midfielder Riccardo Montolivo merits recognition for having brilliantly assisted Gilardino's second goal. Gilardino wasted no time in taking full advantage of a struggling Reggina, tapping into an empty net for his second goal of the match and the 100th of his Serie A career.
Champions League: Fiorentina 0 - 3 Bayern Monaco
Fiorentina learned a harsh lesson on October 21 as inexperience and a stroke of bad luck led to a 3-0 away game defeat against Luca Toni's Bayern Munich in the Champions League showdown. The atmosphere was electric in a sold-out Allianz Arena in Munich. However, Viola players soon found themselves down a goal after Miroslav Klose muscled off Vargas to beat Frey just four minutes into the game. In this instance, Prandelli was the first to admit that his defense lacked the proper cover. Creating numerous chances for a goal throughout the match, the Viola seemed to lack the finishing touch. Felipe Melo had the best chance after a stellar solo effort landed him a one on one with the goalkeeper, only to flash his shot wide off the onrushing keeper. Where the Italians lacked efficiency, Bayern had plenty to spare and soon it was 2-0. Fiorentina seemed to control much of the first half and second half, but continued to miss scoring chances. It was clear that Toni, recovering from a bruised rib, was not fully fit to play at his best. He did, however, prove his effectiveness despite being unable to find the net. With Lyon's victory over Steaua Bucharest in Romania, the Fiorentina now sit third in their Champions League group, five points behind Group F leaders Bayern. The Viola will have a shot at redemption when they host Bayern at the Artemio Franchi stadium on November 5.
Italian Serie A: Fiorentina 3 - 1 Palermo
The high-intensity, highly controversial Viola victory against Palermo on October 26 awarded the Fiorentina an additional three points, securing the fifth spot in the Serie A standings. The results of the match, which was well played on both sides, quickly came under scrutiny thanks to an uncalled illegal goal by Viola striker, Alberto Gilardino. After carefully viewing the video replays, it becomes clear that the 28-year-old's opening goal in the 20th minute was made thanks to a the thrust of his hand. Gila attracted more criticism for having run down the pitch with his hands held high in celebration immediately after the goal. The incident recalled the illegal handball goal made by the legendary Diego Maradona against England in the 1986 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals. In that instance, Maradona facetiously commented on the goal saying it was the ‘hand of God'. In a post-match interview, Gilardino maintained: ‘It was an involuntary situation that I had no control over whatsoever...I received a knock from behind, and that is what led to my hand coming into contact with the ball. Had the goal been disallowed, then in my opinion, it should have been a penalty anyway'. Regardless of the controversy over Gila's ‘hand' in the Viola victory, critics and supporters alike all agreed that AC Fiorentina took home a much-deserved win at the Santa Barbara stadium in Sicily.