Fiorentina 1-1 Sporting CP (3-3 agg.): Firenze Side Through On Away Goals Thriller

Stevan Jovetic

Fiorentina became the fourth Italian side to reach the Champions League group stages this season by ousting Sporting CP of Portugal on the away goals rule.

As play began on a pitch that looked more like a war zone than a football field, Sporting made a spirited start to an encounter that they simply had to score in if they wanted to progress to the group stages.

Through the medium of their coveted captain, Joao Moutinho, the visitors did just that after 35 minutes. Moutinho stood over the ball outside the box, striking a beautiful curled shot around the Italian wall and past Sebastien Frey.

The Portuguese outfit could well have gone two or three goals ahead in the first period, but poor finishing from Yannik Djalo saw to it that only a single goal remained the difference as the teams trotted off at the break.

Cesare Prandelli opted to shake things up a little as his side looked for the equaliser that could well reserve them a place in the Champions League group stages – bringing on Stevan Jovetic in place of Massimo Gobbi and allowing former Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu to push further up and become a bigger danger for Paulo Bento’s men.

Prandelli’s tactical changed payed dividends as Jovetic latched onto Alberto Gilardino’s cross and shrugged off his marker before belting an angled shot past Rui Patricio from just inside the area. Fiorentina were back in the tie.

With Cristiano Zanetti keeping the Lions at bay from an anchored midfield position, Juan Manuel Vargas and Jovetic ran the show on the flanks as the game wore on. Mutu and Gilardino began to link up well, almost wrapping things up completely in the late stages of the game after the latter of the two pushed a Vargas cross just wide.

The result spells a Europa League group draw for the Portuguese side, while the Viola progress to the next stage of the Champions League.


~ by footballdirecta on August 27, 2009.

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