Fiorentina played a 0-0 draw away to Pacos Ferreira, so will go head-to-head with Dnipro for leadership of Europa League Group E.
The Viola had already qualified, but lost their 100 per cent record amid massive squad rotation, so Josip Ilicic, Marko Bakic and the returning Massimo Ambrosini were given a chance to shine. Defender Marvin Compper was the surprise choice as captain. Pacos Ferreira had just one point from four games, though Coach Henrique Calisto had replaced Costinha on October 28.
Ruben Ribeiro’s curler was not far off target and Bebé’s effort skimmed the base of the near post. On-loan Manchester United man Bebé should’ve given the hosts a 1-0 lead on 19 minutes, but incredibly aimed his tap-in straight at Gustavo Munua after Ribeiro had rolled across for him unmarked.
A Mati Fernandez free kick was deflected wide off the wall and Ilicic fired so far off target that it went out for a throw-in.
David Pizarro came on for the second half and Alberto Aquilani blasted over, then the ex-Roma midfielder failed to get a Pizarro ball over the top under control when he was clear on goal.
Ribeiro had a good opportunity when defenders backed off him, but he drilled wide of the near top corner from the edge of the box.
Ruder Matos tried to dribble between three players in the area and went down, but the referee waved play on with neither a penalty nor a booking for simulation. Pizarro, however, did pick up a yellow card for protesting.
Aquilani’s powerful header from a corner was smothered by Antonio Filipe, then Pacos desperately cleared a corner that Mati Fernandez and Olexandr Yakovenko failed to bundle over the line.
A Mati Fernandez scorcher sailed just off target, but Munua needed a great one-handed save to palm the Manuel José strike over the bar moments later.
A Marcos Alonso volley flashed over and Juan Cuadrado forced a save out of Filipe at the near post.
Dnipro beat Pandurii 4-2 in the other game, so the Ukrainians have already qualified along with Fiorentina. As long as the Viola don’t lose that head-to-head at the Stadio Franchi, they will remain group leaders.
Pacos Ferreira 0-0 Fiorentina
Pacos Ferreira: Filipe; Tony, Tiago Valente, Ricardo, Helder Lopes; Anunciaçao, Andre Leao; Manuel José, Seri (Romeu 92), Bebé (Hurtado 58), Ruben Ribeiro (Sergio 71)
Fiorentina: Munua; Roncaglia, Compper, Tomovic, Alonso; Aquilani, Bakic (Pizarro 46), Ambrosini (Cuadrado 62); Mati Fernandez, Ilicic (Yakovenko 74); Matos
Ref: Shemeulevitch (ISR)
Think you know your Italian football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG's tipster competition - £5,000 monthly.