NEWS
Thursday November 3 2016
EL: Fiorentina sweep Liberec aside

Fiorentina have one foot in the Europa League knockouts after sweeping Slovan Liberec aside 3-0.

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The Viola were in a very strong position to qualify and kept squad rotation to a minimum, but left Khouma Babacar on the bench and missed Milan Badelj. Slovan Liberec were beaten 3-1 on home turf in the reverse fixture a fortnight ago.

Josip Ilicic was unlucky not to break the deadlock after 15 minutes when his trademark left-foot strike thumped the base of the near post.

In an attempt to turn away the rebound, David Hovorka sustained an injury and had to be replaced. Slovan Liberec also threatened an opening goal, as Zdenek Folprecht was at full stretch to volley a set play and Ciprian Tatarusanu used all his height to fingertip it over the bar.

Nikola Kalinic showed great control to chest down a Nenad Tomovic cross, but the finish was high.

Igor Sukennik went sliding into a mistimed tackle on Ilicic at the by-line for an inevitable penalty, which the Slovenia international converted himself straight down the middle.

Ilicic provided the assist for the second goal with a smart ball over the top, as Kalinic waltzed round the goalkeeper and deposited into the empty net from a tight angle.

Borja Valero fired just over the bar and Jan Sykora’s volley was well held. There was danger when a corner flashed all the way across the face of goal with nobody able to get the final touch.

The Viola visibly sat on their lead in the second half, as Folprecht nodded off target, but Sebastian Cristoforo added a third with his solo strike from just outside the box.

Liberec didn’t lose hope and late on Gonzalo Rodriguez prevented Nikolai Komlichenko getting a consolation goal with his decisive challenge.

Fiorentina 3-0 Slovan Liberec

Ilicic pen 29 (F), Kalinic 43 (F), Cristoforo 73 (F)

Fiorentina: Tatarusanu; Tomovic, De Maio, Rodriguez, Milic; Sanchez, Borja Valero (Babacar 79), Cristoforo, Chiesa; Ilicic (Vecino 69); Kalinic (Bernardeschi 86)

Slovan Liberec: Hladky; Coufal, Sukennik (Navratil 79), Hovorka (Nitriansky 17), Bartosak; Folprecht, Sykora; Bartl, Sevcik, Vuch; Markovic (Komlichenko 59)

Ref: Stavrev

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