Thursday November 7 2013
EL: Fiorentina qualify with fightback

Matos Ryder and Borja Valero scored late on to turn around the match, beating Pandurii 2-1 to qualify for the Europa League knockouts.

The Viola needed just one point in Romania to be sure of qualification after winning their opening three games. With Dnipro beating Pacos Ferreira, the Ukrainians have also gone through already.

Giuseppe Rossi, Borja Valero and Neto were rested with David Pizarro, Massimo Ambrosini and Mario Gomez injured, so goalkeeper Gustavo Munua received his Fiorentina debut.

Ryder Matos tumbled in the box under pressure, but not enough to warrant a penalty, then spun round to fire over the bar.

Erico was booked for taking down Olexandr Yakovenko as he was running on goal, though it was not a red as he was still some way from the penalty area. Bad news for the hosts, who were forced to substitute injured goalkeeper Razvan Stanca. Marcos Alonso fired a free kick straight into the wall, but Pedro Mingote had to be alert when rushing off his line to charge down a Joaquin chip.

However, it was Pandurii who broke the deadlock with an absolutely stunning strike from Eric Pereira. He performed an extraordinary scissor-kick volley from just inside the area that looped over a helpless Munua into the far top corner, though appeared to shin the ball.

Pereira went on another rapid counter-attack, but this time Facundo Roncaglia was crucial to intercept for a corner. Pandurii lost Erico to injury too before half-time, using up two of their three substitutions.

Borja Valero replaced the disappointing Yakovenko for the second half and straight away Mingote sprinted out to close down Matos, while Alberto Aquilani’s right-foot snapshot was just over the bar.

Borja Valero sprung the offside trap only to flick the ball wide when one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Mati Fernandez had his volley charged down from a corner, but this left huge gaps at the back and Munua had his palms stung by Marko Momcilovic before fingertipping a Paul Anton effort round the post.

The Fernandez screamer flashed past the far post and Pereira fired over, while Cuadrado skimmed the upright and Munua beat away an Alex Dos Santos strike.

Fiorentina finally equalised in the last few minutes when Cuadrado burst down the right and rolled across for Matos to tap in. It was the young Brazilian’s third goal of the Europa League group phase.

The Italians were determined to win this, as Mingote flew to palm a Borja Valero scorcher out for a corner, then Matos had the ball in the net again, but was offside.

Mingote stuck out a foot to turn Joaquin’s angled drive out, as it was about to nutmeg the goalkeeper at the near post.

Deep into stoppages, Cuadrado chipped up a pass between defenders for Borja Valero’s delicate finish on the half-volley.

Pandurii 1-2 Fiorentina

Scorers: Pereira 32 (P), Matos 85 (F), Borja Valero 92 (F)

Pandurii: Stanca (Mingote 24); Ungurusan, Erico (Mamele 42), Christou, Momcilovic; Anton, Breeveld; Buleica, Pereira, Distefano (Sipo 86); Dos Santos

Fiorentina: Munua; Roncaglia (Capezzi 80), Rodriguez, Compper, Alonso; Cuadrado, Aquilani, Fernandez (Ilicic 66); Joaquin, Yakovenko (Borja Valero 46), Matos

Ref: Sidiropoulos (GRE)

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