Fiorentina crushed Pacos Ferreira 3-0 with Gonzalo Rodriguez, Ryder Matos and Giuseppe Rossi to top their Europa League group.
Also in Group E, Dnipro won 1-0 away to Pandurii this evening, so the Tuscans are ahead on goal difference.
The Viola played in Europe for the first time since 2007-08 and hosted a Portuguese side that was knocked out of the Champions League play-offs by Zenit 8-3 on aggregate last month. Mario Gomez and Juan Guillermo Cuadrado were injured, while Alberto Aquilani, Manuel Pasqual and Facundo Roncaglia rested, so Borja Valero moved into a trequartista role.
After three minutes Giuseppe Rossi’s through ball sent Joaquin clear, but goalkeeper Matias Degra sprinted off his line to smother. Nenad Tomovic’s cross-shot was deflected on to the side-netting and Degra blocked Rossi’s effort at the near post.
Degra flew to claw a Marcos Alonso half-volley out from under the crossbar and on the resulting Rossi corner Fiorentina took the lead with a glancing Gonzalo Rodriguez header at the near post.
Christian Irobiso turned Marvin Compper to fire over the bar, but Rossi burst into the box and pulled back for Massimo Ambrosini, his pass intercepted by Manchester United-owned forward Bebe getting back to defend.
In first half stoppages the goakkeeper fumbled a deflected Ambrosini cross and almost dropped it into his own net, but was able to scramble it off the line.
Straight after the restart Neto was forced into a tough save on a fierce Tony strike that was heading across goal into the far top corner. Gonzalo Rodriguez blasted over and Joaquin had the ball in the back of the net with a fine volley, but he was offside and should’ve left the Marcos Alonso cross for Alberto Aquilani right behind him.
The Viola did double their lead soon after with Ryder Matos and his first real kick of the game. He had only come off the bench a few seconds earlier, but was in the right place at the right time between two centre-backs to side-foot home a wonderful Borja Valero assist. The 20-year-old was booked for whipping off his shirt in celebration.
The party was complete when Pepito Rossi got on the scoresheet, as Mati Fernandez rolled across, Aquilani flicked it on and he curled a perfect left-foot finish into the far bottom corner of the net.
Fiorentina 3-0 Pacos Ferreira
Scorers: Rodriguez 30 (F), Matos Ryder 67 (F), Rossi 76 (F)
Fiorentina: Neto; Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Compper, Alonso; Ambrosini (Aquilani 58), Pizarro, Fernandez; Borja Valero; Joaquin (Matos Ryder 66), Rossi (Bakic 77)
Pacos Ferreira: Degra; Tony (Rodrigo Antonio 68), Filipe Anunciacao, Ricardo, Nuno Santos; Hurtado, Andre Leao, Seri (Romeu 68), Ruben Ribeiro (Rui Miguel 75); Bebe, Irobiso
Ref: Blom (NED)
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