Monday October 21 2013
Florence goes Bati once more

The League leaders stayed perfect, a Coach got sacked and there were penalties galore. Giancarlo Rinaldi catches his breath as Serie A returns in dazzling style.

He may not have been at the match but his spirit oozed from its every pore. From the mocking machine-gun Juventus goal celebrations to the memories of the last time Fiorentina won this fixture, there was one name which echoed throughout the match. By the end of a gobsmacking afternoon, the Viola had produced a performance worthy of Gabriel Omar Batistuta.

It was December 1998 when the Stadio Artemio Franchi last saw its favourites down their most bitter adversaries. On that day it was Batigol, of course, who ghosted in behind the last defender to head home the winner. On Sunday it was Giuseppe Rossi’s turn to take centre stage in a comeback of mind-boggling magnitude.

For more than an hour, nothing had looked less likely. Vincenzo Montella’s men had bashed their heads off a brick wall in the first half and then slipped behind to a Carlitos Tevez penalty and Paul Pogba pouncing on a clumsy attempt at a clearance by Juan Cuadrado. It seemed certain they would follow the time-honoured script of failing in the match their fans most want them to win.

But then, however, something most unexpected happened. Rossi converted a lifeline penalty and the Bianconeri – so often expert at extinguishing hope in their opponents – were submerged by a purple tide. In 15 mesmerising minutes Pepito thumped a second past an ill-timed Gigi Buffon dive, Joaquin slotted coolly home in acres of space and the Italian-American striker completed a hat-trick after a searing Cuadrado counter-attacking run. If they had not already taken away the barriers at Fiorentina’s ground, the fans might have pounded them down in delight.

This was emotional redemption for Rossi after so long out through injury. What made it all the more remarkable was that he had required treatment from the physio after just two minutes. He now sits proudly on top of the Serie A scoring charts just like a certain Mr Batistuta used to do when he led the line in the Renaissance City.

It was also an uncharacteristic blow for Antonio Conte’s men to suffer. He has been harping on about how hard it would be for them to maintain the levels achieved in the past two seasons and this was evidence that there might be substance to his warnings. He said he hoped it would prove to be a similar “slap” to the one they endured in defeat to Inter last year which served to sharpen up their approach. They will need to get their heads clear quickly, of course, if they are to avoid a knockout blow against Real Madrid in Europe.

La Vecchia Signora’s defeat was the icing on the cake to a perfect long-weekend for Roma. They won their top-of-the-table clash with Napoli on Friday night with another Argentine legend looming over the game. The presence of Diego Armando Maradona, however, was not enough to inspire Rafa Benitez’s men to victory.

Instead, Miralem Pjanic produced a free-kick the maestro would have been proud of to break the deadlock and then converted a penalty to clinch the Friday night tussle. That made it eight wins out of eight since the start of the season. Next weekend the Giallorossi could match a Serie A record which is another of those lovely little nuggets of controversy which Calciopoli left behind. Fabio Capello’s Juve reeled off nine triumphs on the trot at the outset of their journey to the 2005-06 Scudetto which was subsequently taken off them.

Little wonder no club has been able to match the pace of Rudi Garcia’s side which is without equal in the major European Leagues this term. Napoli and Juve remain their closest rivals despite their setbacks at the weekend. The capital club is bound to slow up some time, but they could have racked up a significant advantage by the time that moment comes.

Verona’s incredible start to the season continued with a win which was just as epic as Fiorentina’s as they saw off Parma in a real ding-dong battle at the Bentegodi. Having grabbed an early lead, Hellas were overhauled before two Jorginho penalties turned the game on its head. It puts them in a fantastic fourth place for the time being.

Inter had hoped to overhaul them on the road to Torino on Sunday night but they faced an uphill task from the outset. Down to 10 men early on and twice trailing, Walter Mazzarri’s men hauled themselves back to a winning position only to have Nicola Bellomo level the match with an audacious free-kick in the closing moments. On the upside for the Nerazzurri was the character they showed in clawing their way into the match. The downside, however, was some pretty inept defending for much of the game.

Sunday’s night game also saw Alessio Cerci fail to convert what was the 11th penalty of the weekend – which equalled the record number of spot-kicks for a round of games dating back to the 1950-51 season. You can decide for yourself which one of them was the most dubious. One thing is for certain, Serie A players are more expert than most in winning such decisions.

Elsewhere, Milan ground out a vital one-goal win over Udinese which is unlikely to have had Barcelona trembling in their designer boots. At the bottom end of the table, Samp saw off Livorno and Sassuolo beat Bologna to get their first wins of the season while Atalanta clipped Lazio’s wings and an Alberto Gilardino double helped Gian Piero Gasperini get his Genoa side past Chievo.

But if there were vital gulps of oxygen for some sides at the bottom of the table that was not the case for Catania and it produced a typical piece of short-sighted Italian football action. Defeat by Cagliari was enough to see Rolando Maran sent packing despite gathering a record points total for the club in Serie A last year. Gratitude, we know, is a commodity which is rarer in Calcio than Roma defeats these days. 

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Have your say...
Shevshenko and Ronaldo is disqaulified för not playing enough seasons åt the highest level during the 90s.
on the 23rd October, 2013 at 5:33pm

Really I know you are a milan fan But really George Weah better than batigol.
And Do you really think shevshenko was a greater attacker then batigol when he played in Kiev? Or did just One season in the milan shirt make him better then batigol?
You are proabably to Young to have seen sorger of these players you are talking about because you clearly have none idea how Good these players was.
The only One in your list Egon were better during the 90s was vän västen.
on the 23rd October, 2013 at 5:29pm
Attention: worry about Azzurri, since Prandelli relies on Buffon & Pirlo, where both are not performing well! however, there is much time for WC'14 I only hope for both mentioned players to get back on form back again, otherwise it will be same old story as WC'10. I strongly suggest that Prandelli to take good look at B&P, if its necessary to replace bring on Totti&Siregu should he remain on form, since the coach cannot trust Veratti but to bench him!!! I think B&P are getting old.
on the 23rd October, 2013 at 5:06am
AS bitter as it was to see Jovetic leave Italy i do not take any pleasure in mocking one of Fiorentina's greatest goal scorers even if he and Tevez are born in the same country. Giuseppe Rossi made them pay for it. Chiellini had an awful game - Llorente is not suited for this 3-5-2 and Conte is getting complacent with this team. We need to switch formations and throw teams off guard. I congratulate Fiorentina because that may instil some humility on this team because they were getting arrogant
on the 22nd October, 2013 at 1:17pm
Juve have lost their hunger, results in europe have been poor but I think they can still get a result against Real. They need to find that determination of the last 2 seasons but key players for juve havent shown up this season yet. As for Milan we need a Kaka miracle tonight.
on the 22nd October, 2013 at 11:52am
Gabriel, I agree with everything that you said re: Buffon. Aside from the odd good game, he has been well below par for the past 6 months. He's looked heavy, slow, nervous, & has lacked concentration. What is disturbing is that Prandelli will pick him irrespective of form, & appears to have learned nothing from Lippi's errors of 3 years ago. If Buffon continues like this, then I hope that he has decency to step down & give others a chance.
on the 22nd October, 2013 at 11:49am
It feels like Juventus are at the end of a cycle, similar to Manchester United, and the squad needs a major overhaul. Marchisio has to go! He is weak physically and technically and gives us nothing. I also believe Buffon and Pirlo need to be replaced in the next 12 months. Players like Griesmann and Benteke would be a step in the right direction. I believe we will still challenge strongly for the Scudetto, as I can't see anyone dominating for the whole season, and that includes Roma.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 9:54pm
It pains me to say it, but Buffon seems to be in terminal decline and Conte may have to make a big decision sooner, rather than later. What happened to Cannavaro seems to have happened to Gigi and everything that made him the best, is diminishing fast. His agility, shot-stopping, speed off his line, distribution, were his strength, but they are now his weakness and this is clearly effecting the whole defensive unit. I love Gigi and always will, but sentiment has no place in modern day football.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 9:11pm
The worst thing about yesterday was that after the equaliser, it was inevitable that we would lose. They got what they deserved for their arrogance and lack of professionalism. We had three clear chances to go 3-0 up, and on all three occasions the ball was hit straight at the keeper. This result has been coming, as we haven't played well all season. No hunger! No desire! Players who were rock solid are now nervous wrecks and don't seem to care. I don't blame Conte, I blame the players.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 8:40pm
And Juve paid for Asamoah $18 million and plus $9 million for that flop Isla=$27 million for 2 average players. What a waste of $27 million...
on the 21st October, 2013 at 7:43pm
I agree Dan, huge concerns with juve/italy backline. Cesare needs to use the formation which leaves us least exposed at the back. I think ogbonna needs more playing time. I keep saying it but Cesare missed a big chance with Roncaglia. Bardi is a great keeper defo future italy number 1.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 6:21pm

Saying Batigoal was the best striker of the 90s is bold. He was great but let me remind you of how many incredible talented striker the 90s offered.

Weah, Jurgen Klinsmann. Andriy Shevchenko ,Alan Shearer, Marco Van Basten
Roberto Baggio, Raul, Romario, and last but not least Ronaldo.

So yeah, digest those before Batigoal was the best of all those.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 5:04pm
I'm a Juve fan and dispite being very disappointed with the result I'm very happy for Giuseppe Rossi. His 2nd goal especially was world class, it's so good to see him back. I would have loved Juve to have taken the punt and signed him, but another example of Marrotta lack of foresight. He's a must for Brazil, I just hope he can remain fit and in form.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 4:05pm
juventus wont win anything this year in my opinion,i said they should have gone and broke the bank for higuain rather than tevez and as for asamoah ive always thought he is a all round poor player he cant cross he cant defend and he cant dribble juve should of kept Giaccherini and played him on the left
on the 21st October, 2013 at 3:18pm
Juve had to bring Ogbona in and switch to 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 after 2:0 lead,but I guess Conte doesn't know any better than 3-5-2 all year round,24/7.He doesn't have wingers for that stubborn 3-5-2.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 2:55pm
As I Juve fan - I am saying that Juve are playing awful recently. None of that 'it was a crazy 10 mins' or excuses like that. We were making mistakes all game and were sloppy the entire game and that's been the norm this term so far. Let's be real on this. Asamoah is a shadow of his former self since January. RWB area is dire. At this rate, we are lucky if we don't get destroyed by Real Madrid, which is the last thing Italian football needs in UCL. We did it to ourselves, tho.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 2:24pm
The hubris in articles around here should be taken down a notch. If you learn nothing else from Juventus right now, learn that hubris bites. And while I understand going after the title holder, using words like "harping" sets an unprofessional tone, a tone of animosity. I'm a Juve fan, but I can admit when they're awful, and that's now. My complaint isn't in the fact you pointed that out, it's how you pointed to it. Up your game here -- be professional.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 2:01pm
What was the problem of the juventus players?They wanted to make fun of fiorentina by using the celebration of their best ever player?They think that they can laugh at such historical team and the best striker of the 90's? I hope they can laugh now at how rossi made fun of them...
on the 21st October, 2013 at 1:53pm
I now think the Real Madrid match comes at a perfect time for Juve. The only way to quickly forget such a defeat is to follow it up with a performance we know Juve is capable of. Put in a great performance and crisis averted. No time to dwell on Fiorentina.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 12:17pm
insightful article.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 12:11pm
I'm still here! Maybe the only Lazio fan on here! Poor performance by us!! Never have I seen a club other than Milan have so many players out all the time!! That being said Lolito is as iv said before a clown! poor signings not enough money spent on good players! Lucky to have kept Candreva! Hernanes out in Jan while he has value, best just get cash for him but doubt that will be reinvested in the team! Still 26-05-13 can cling to that for while haha, We need Diego Simeone as coach
on the 21st October, 2013 at 12:02pm
And miss player, so that leaves us with quag who don't forget nearly got sold but in my opinion is the best we have. Asamoah I have always thought should have stayed in the other black and white shirt as way too predictable as is padoin. Pirlo has quality but no pace. Pogba is good but tends to keep the ball too long. As for the defence, chellini a worker and gives his all along with barzagli and bonnuci but yesterday showed too much bombing forward and they get exposed. Buffon well is is time!!
on the 21st October, 2013 at 10:42am
Boys boys boys yes so we lost 4-2 which on paper looks poor but really a kick up the backside may do us well. I have been saying all this year as a juve fan we look to be struggling and not because of the resurgence of Napoli & Roma but generally we appear to be conceding too many and still look poor going forward. Tevez is a worker but best years are behind him, llorente well at best in current form a squad player, vucinic again still at best a playmaker not a goal scorer, giovinco a very hit
on the 21st October, 2013 at 10:37am
What a crazy game! Delighted for Rossi, but very concerned about Juve/Italy's defence. The officiating was shocking across the board this weekend: blind, over fussy referees-handed out cards far too easily. It makes me wonder whether the FIGC instructs them to do this so they can rake in more revenue via fines. I hope that I get proved wrong, but I think that we may be in for a disappointing CL week.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 10:34am
hahaha funny loved it! what a game! Tevez and Pogba haha bet they fill stupid mock Bati celebration get hammered 4-2!! chin up!! as fiorentina said they replied with 4 rifle shots, Pogba by the way thinks he is world class already....he is so big time for a average player..... I would take the money for him get gone average Joe. Juve could be on the down now? cant defend can they so bad.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 9:41am
I must say, seeing Juve lose the match like that was horrible. I don't know what has gotten into the team in that period of 10 minutes. Juve were doing what they wanted, trying to win the game with the least effort possible and they were getting it. But then, I guess 10 minutes can cost you a match.

Apparently, Asamoah was behind the dubious penalty and was nowhere to be found on the third goal.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 9:31am
Brilliant for viola and even better for italy.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 9:19am
The last game Juve need now is Real in Madrid. If they defend like yesterday they will be destroyed. Buffon needs to dig deep and find something inside him as do the defense. Missing Quags and Vucinic is very costly for Juve. I think Napoli will win in Europe but both Juve and Milan will lose bad in my view. Hope fiorentina and Lazio both win in Europa. A great dog for my beloved Roma, 5 clear its our time. Good result for Lazio yesterday. HA HA. Again all the Lazio fans on here go missing.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 9:07am
Looks like the results went Milan's way this week. Not that Udinese attacked us too much but Silvestre looks a little more reliable/less prone to bookings than Mexes. Gabriel did really well in goals. Roma are out in front but will hopefully lose some steam meanwhile we are little less behind the top particularly if Verona and Atlanta fall away. Great win for Fiorentina and am delighted for Rossi. I think's he found the perfect team for him where he'll become a key player.
on the 21st October, 2013 at 8:52am

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