Sunday July 21 2019
Arsenal expose Fiorentina faults

Fiorentina were wasteful in front of goal and caught out too easily at the back in a 3-0 International Champions Cup defeat to Arsenal.

The Viola had a strong start in Charlotte, as Riccardo Saponara turned a free header off target and Dusan Vlahovic stung the gloves of Emiliano Martinez, with Andrea Sottil unable to tap in the rebound.

However, a mistimed defensive slide from Sebastian Cristoforo proved disastrous moments later, allowing Eddie Nketiah to fire in relatively undisturbed.

Federico Ceccherini’s header was going into the far top corner before a Nketiah goal-line clearance, while the offside trap failed and Martinez again had to deny Sottil one-on-one.

Vlahovic ran on to a smart Saponara through ball, but flicked it inches past the upright of an open goal on the stroke of half-time.

Bernd Leno came on for the second half and immediately needed a strong one-handed save on Marco Benassi’s scorcher at the near top corner, but substitute Pietro Terracciano bizarrely misjudged his run and punched the ball outside the penalty area, which fortunately was treated as a yellow card offence.

Terracciano also only beat an Alexandre Lacazette effort away as far as Nelson, who fired wide from point-blank range.

Fiorentina were furious when Arsenal and Nketiah scored their second, as they felt there was a Carl Jenkinson body-check to block Cristoforo and the striker was also offside in the build-up, but the referee shrugged off protests.

Giovanni Simeone wasted another good opportunity, but nothing compared to Gabriel Martinelli, who sprinted halfway up the field only to prod wide.

Joe Willock did get Arsenal’s third when sent clear by Lacazette to blast into the roof of the net.

Arsenal 3-0 Fiorentina

Nketiah 16, 66 (A), Willock 90 (A)

Arsenal: Martinez (Leno 46); Chambers (Papastathopoulos 63), Mustafi (Medley 79), Monreal (Thompson 79); Jenkinson (Martinelli 79), Olayinka (Willock 63), Burton (Xhaka 79), Kolasinac (Lacazette 46); Nelson (Martinelli 79), Saka (Mkhitaryan 63); Nketiah (Ozil 79)

Fiorentina: Dragowski (Terracciano 46); Venuti, Ceccherini, Ranieri (Milenkovic 72), Terzic (Hancko 72); Castrovilli (Zurkowski 46), Cristoforo, Benassi (Baez 72); Sottil, Vlahovic (Simeone 72), Saponara (Eysseric 72)

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