Only Gianluca Pegolo’s heroics prevented Amauri from scoring on his Fiorentina debut, as the Viola beat Siena 2-1 in the Tuscan derby.
The Viola signed Amauri from Juventus this week and threw him straight into the starting XI despite the fact he has not played for eight months. Alessio Cerci was dropped again ahead of his likely transfer and Gianni Munari suspended, while the fans left many of the stands empty in protest at recent poor results. An interested spectator was Mounir El Hamdaoui, who flew in to complete his transfer from Ajax. Siena were fresh from making history by reaching the Coppa Italia semi-finals, but still missed goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic.
There was a minute’s silence before all Sunday’s games for former President of Italy Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, who died last night at the age of 93.
It took under four minutes for Fiorentina to break the deadlock in the Derby di Toscana. Stevan Jovetic gathered on the outside left edge of the box and turned round with a dummy, immediately firing his right-foot daisy-cutter in at the near post to stun Pegolo.
Gaetano D’Agostino faced his former club and a long-range snapshot was smothered by Artur Boruc. Amauri squirmed away from two defenders and a step-over allowed him to set up Valon Behrami, but a last-ditch tackle charged down the danger.
It should’ve been 2-0 at the 40th minute, but Pegolo performed a desperate reaction save on Andrea Lazzari’s diving header at the back post.
Moments later Amauri attempted an audacious overhead kick that was squirming in at the near post were it not for Pegolo’s great stop.
Claudio Terzi tried to run off an injury, but had to make way for Franco Brienza, changing to a 4-3-1-2 system. However, with Brienza’s first touch he was booked for simulation when coming together with Manuel Pasqual. Replays suggest he might’ve trodden on his toe, but the referee felt Brienza was seeking the contact.
Amauri soared for a wonderful header on Pasqual’s cross, but was again denied by Pegolo at full stretch from less than six yards. The Siena goalkeeper was preventing a Fiorentina thrashing, as he also got down well to beat away a Lazzari strike.
The Viola did double their lead from a Riccardo Montolivo free kick that was swung into the box for both Amauri and Cesare Natali, but the defender got the final touch to nod in from seven yards.
Boruc had to make his first genuine save after 69 minutes, flying to palm a Cristian Del Grosso screamer past the back stick.
Amauri just couldn’t get a debut goal thanks to the efforts of Pegolo, as he shook off Luca Rossettini only to see his fierce strike charged down by the ‘keeper.
The game seemed to be over when Nastasic jumped with his arm well out, taking it off the head of Mattia Destro. Emanuele Calaiò stepped up and converted successfully into the near bottom corner to give Siena some very late hope of a point, but it was too little, too late.