NEWS
Thursday February 18 2016
EL: Spurs stall Fiorentina

Fiorentina need a result in London after Tottenham held them to a 1-1 draw with Federico Bernardeschi wiping out Nacer Chadli’s penalty.

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The Viola knocked Spurs out at this stage of the Europa League last season and they met again in Florence. Facundo Roncaglia was suspended, while the visitors missed Hugo Lloris and Clinton Njie. Paulo Sousa rotated the squad, but hoped to improve their poor home form of two defeats and one win in Europe this term.

It was a very slow start to the game, Mauro Zarate blasting over from the edge of the box after 17 minutes and Borja Valero’s intelligent pass intercepted before it could send Jakub Blaszczykowski clear.

Ciprian Tatarusanu flew to palm a Christian Eriksen screamer out from under the bar, but 19-year-old talent Dele Alli risked a straight red when he kicked Nenad Tomovic in the ribs while on the ground. Surprisingly, the referee opted for a yellow card.

Federico Bernardeschi wasted a golden opportunity when mis-kicking his volley from six yards following Josip Ilicic’s chipped pass over the top.

It proved a costly error, as soon after Spurs were awarded a penalty for Tomovic’s tackle on Ben Davies and Nacer Chadli sent Tatarusanu the wrong way, passing it low into the near bottom corner.

Zarate drilled a great chance over from just inside the area and straight after the restart Son Heung-Min had the ball in the back of the net, but the offside flag had gone up.

Chadli’s dummy sent Gonzalo Rodriguez to ground, testing Tatarusanu at the near post, but Fiorentina equalised with a little bit of luck.

Bernardeschi unleashed a screamer from a huge distance and it took a deflection off Ryan Mason, looping in off the underside of the bar to draw Fiorentina level.

The Viola suddenly woke up and had a whole new intensity about them, aided by a series of Paulo Sousa substitutions. Michael Vorm struggled to control a Matias Vecino blockbuster and Alli turned a spectacular overhead kick off target.

Fiorentina had two great chances in the final minutes, as Vorm got down to beat away a Zarate screamer and on the resulting corner Gonzalo Rodriguez’s glancing header skimmed the far post.

Fiorentina 1-1 Tottenham

Scorers: Chadli pen 37 (T), Bernardeschi 59 (F)

Fiorentina: Tatarusanu; Tomovic, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Astori, Marcos Alonso; Tino Costa (Vecino 68), Borja Valero; Blaszczykowski (Kalinic 62), Ilicic (Badelj 61), Bernardeschi; Zarate

Tottenham: Vorm; Trippier, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Davies; Carroll (Dembele 46), Mason; Eriksen, Alli, Son (Kane 68); Chadli (Dier 79)

Ref: Zwayer (GER)