Tuesday February 11 2014
Coppa: Fiorentina fly into the Final

Stunning Manuel Pasqual and Juan Cuadrado goals sent Fiorentina to the Coppa Italia Final, beating Udinese 3-2 on aggregate.

They’ll face either Roma or Napoli in the Final at the Stadio Olimpico on May 3.

The Viola were trailing 2-1 from the first leg if this semi-final and needed a victory to stop Udinese reaching their first Coppa Italia Final since 1922. Giuseppe Rossi and Massimo Ambrosini were injured, Borja Valero suspended and Mario Gomez back on the bench for the first time since damaging knee ligaments in September. The Tuscans were hoping to get to the last two for the first time since their triumph in 2001, but for the Friulani simply being in the Final could qualify them for Europe.

Fiorentina broke the deadlock with an absolutely sensational goal. Joaquin sprung the offside trap on a chipped David Pizarro pass and Manuel Pasqual hit a fierce volley under the bar from a tight angle. This strike put the Viola in front on away goals.

Danilo threw himself in front of Joaquin’s screamer to force a corner and Antonio Di Natale’s overhead kick was off target. Mati Fernandez drilled wide, but Udinese threatened again when Di Natale curled just over the bar after a well-worked team move.

Gabriel Silva turned his marker for an angled drive and Neto got fingertips to it, turning the shot round the base of the far post. From that corner, the Fiorentina goalkeeper again had to beat away a Maurizio Domizzi header.

On 33 minutes Di Natale thought he had equalised, but his looping header thumped the far post with Neto rooted to the spot. The veteran also tried to score an extraordinary goal when juggling with the ball to turn between three defenders, but eventually his shot was charged down.

Joaquin stung the glove of 17-year-old Simone Scuffet with a rising finish. Less than a minute into the second half, Scuffet stuck out a hand for a reaction save on another deflected Joaquin attempt.

Stefan Savic was stretchered off with a suspected hamstring problem and could be out of action for around three weeks.

Fiorentina doubled their lead with another wondrful strike, as Pizarro’s long ball found Juan Cuadrado down the right and he smashed an unstoppable screamer in off the underside of the bar, giving Scuffet no chance. Replays show the ball didn’t even rotate in the air, as it simply arrowed off his boot.

The Viola hadn’t even finished celebrating yet when Udinese almost got back into it, but Widmer’s volley was off target from eight yards. The visitors knew a 2-1 defeat here would force extra time, as it’d be all level on aggregate and on away goals.

A corner found Danilo, who fired straight at Neto, while Gabriel Silva’s touch let him down in the box and Cuadrado just about managed to stop him getting a shot away, though ran a big risk.

There was tension during six minutes of stoppages, as Cuadrado was booked for time-wasting and will be suspended for the Final. Emmanuel Badu was sent off from the Udinese bench for dissent. Pasqual was decisive to stop Thomas Heurtaux scoring from six yards.

The Friulani could’ve forced extra time at the 95th minute, but Neto flew for a one-handed save on Luis Muriel’s strike, then Nico Lopez incredibly nodded the follow-up weakly straight into the goalkeeper’s arms. Domizzi was sent off for dissent in the final minute.

Fiorentina 2-0 Udinese (3-2 on agg)

Scorers: Pasqual 14 (F), Cuadrado 61 (F)

Fiorentina: Neto; Diakite, Rodriguez, Savic (Compper 60); Pasqual, Pizarro, Aquilani, Mati Fernandez, Cuadrado; Joaquin (Vargas 89), Matri (Matos 56)

Udinese: Scuffet; Heurtaux, Danilo, Domizzi; Widmer, Pinzi (Muriel 56), Allan, Gabriel Silva (Yebda 91); Fernandes, Pereyra; Di Natale (Nico Lopez 80)

Ref: Massa

Sent off: Domizzi 96 (U)

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