Thursday December 12 2013
Fiorentina see off Dnipro

Juan Cuadrado set up one and scored another as Fiorentina beat Dnipro 2-1 to comfortably win their Europa League group.

Both sides had already qualified, so this was a head-to-head for top spot and the Viola needed only to avoid defeat in order to go through as leaders. They had already won 2-1 in Ukraine and rested Giuseppe Rossi and David Pizarro, while Mario Gomez was still injured. It was an intriguing battle, as Fiorentina had won their last five European home games and Dnipro won three away.

A free kick was taken quickly in the opening minutes and Artem Fedetskiy blasted over from a tight angle before Dnipro took a deserved lead.

Yevhen Konoplyanka cut in from the left in a give-and-go with Ruslan Rotan to curl low into the far bottom corner with the inside of the right boot.

Mati Fernandez burst into the box, but was muscled off the ball, while Facundo Roncaglia’s header was over the bar. The hosts were increasingly irritated at the referee, whose first two yellow cards were against Mati Fernandez for simulation in midfield and Massimo Ambrosini for complaining at the lack of Dnipro bookings.

Juan Cuadrado sprung the offside trap, but slightly over-ran the ball when clear on goal, then the Colombian was found by a Joaquin cross and Denys Boyko used his legs to parry at the near post.

Ryder Matos nodded a corner over from point-blank range, as he got underneath the ball, while Neto parried a Serhiy Politylo strike and Roman Zozulya was offside on the rebound.

Fiorentina got back on level terms just before the break, as Cuadrado skipped past his marker down the right and curled a magnificent cross on to the head of Joaquin to cushion it past Boyko.

Straight after the restart Neto had his palms stung by a Konoplyanka free kick, Cuadrado’s snapshot whistled inches past the near stick and Manuel Pasqual’s cross was flapped into the path of Ambrosini to volley over.

Mati Fernandez tested the goalkeeper from distance and Neto flew to get a hand on to another dangerous effort from the impressive Konoplyanka. Dnipro Coach Juande Ramos threw on Nikola Kalinic for an even more attacking line-up, as only a victory would put them through as group winners.

However, Cuadrado scored a sensational solo effort to put Fiorentina in front for the first time. The Colombian gathered down the left flank, skipped past Ukraine international Rotan and thumped a scorching right-foot angled drive across Boyko into the far bottom corner.

Josip Ilicic ballooned off target on the follow-up from a flapped-away Pasqual cross.

Fiorentina 2-1 Dnipro

Scorers: Konoplyanka 13 (D), Joaquin 42 (F), Cuadrado 77 (F)

Fiorentina: Neto; Roncaglia, Rodriguez, Savic, Pasqual; Mati Fernandez (Pizarro 70), Ambrosini, Borja Valero; Cuadrado (Aquilani 81), Matos (Ilicic 76), Joaquin

Dnipro: Boyko; Fedetskiy, Mandzyuk, Cheberyachko, Vlad (Kalinic 76); Kankava, Rotan; Bruno Gama (Kolukov 63), Politylo (Seleznyov 69), Konoplyanka; Zozulya

Ref: Dias (POR)

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