After an exciting summer transfer market session, which saw Fiorentina acquire the likes of world-class players such as former Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez, the Tuscan outfit opened its Serie A season with two victories against Catania and Genoa.
Fiorentina 2 – 1 Catania
Fiorentina kicked off with a victory versus Catania in a fully packed Artemio Franchi stadium. Both teams boasted numerous goal-scoring occasions in the first half, but it was Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi who put the Viola ahead after 14 minutes of play. Although Fiorentina had the goal advantage, Catania didn’t let Montella’s squad have the competitive edge just yet, and the Sicilian team reacted immediately, drawing level 8 minutes later, when Argentinian Pablo Barrientos netted a goal with a left-footed strike from inside the box. In the end, Fiorentina came back on top thanks to David Pizarro, eluding two defenders before unleashing a powerful right-footed shot.
Fiorentina 0 – 1 Grasshoppers
Before playing their second league game versus Genoa, Fiorentina had to complete their qualification to the group stages of the Europa League, playing the second leg of the pairing against Swiss side Grasshoppers Club Zürich. Ben Khalifa’s goal for the away side had the Tuscan supporters worried, but the 2-1 victory obtained in Switzerland one week earlier gave Fiorentina the edge in the final 2-2 aggregate. Now the Viola will have to compete in the group stages, where they will face Dnipro, Paços Ferreira and Pandurii.
Genoa 2 – 5 Fiorentina
One half was sufficient for Fiorentina to defy Genoa’s defensive tactics at the Luigi Marassi stadium in the Viola’s first away game of the season. Montella varied Fiorentina’s lineup from a 3-5-2 to a 4-1-3-2; a move that clearly bamboozled Genoa’s manager Liverani. Aquilani opened the scoring with a close-range header from a corner kick. Rossi then made it two with a great distance volley. Neto was called upon twice to save the day for Fiorentina, which then made it 3-0 at the end of the first half thanks to Mario Gomez’s first goal wearing the Tuscan jersey. Genoa came back on the pitch with a vengeance, as Alberto Gilardino, former Fiorentina striker, narrowed the gap. Genoa’s burst of enthusiasm was soon quenched, however, once again by a goal by Rossi, all but closing the match in Fiorentina’s favor. Both teams were awarded penalty kicks in the dying minutes of the game, scored by Lodi for Genoa and Gomez for Fiorentina, setting in stone the final 2-5 result.
A magnificent start to what has the makings to be an exciting season for the Viola squad and its supporters. Fiorentina’s next game will be at home, versus Cagliari, on Sunday September 15, and the Sardinian team is warned, as the Tuscan team is seeking redemption after last year’s bitter disappointment.