Hellas Verona earned a surprise 4-1 victory at the Stadio Franchi, but Fiorentina can blame both bad luck and some dismal defending.
Neither side was feeling confident going into this weekend, as the Viola were swept aside 3-1 by Sampdoria and had just two wins in the last nine rounds. Hellas were in far worse condition, Coach Fabio Pecchia hanging by a thread following the 3-0 defeat to Crotone. Bruno Zuculini was suspended, with Alessio Cerci injured and Giampaolo Pazzini transfer-listed, so Ryder Matos faced his old club.
Verona were unbeaten in their last two visits to Florence, a 1-1 draw in March 2016 and surprise 1-0 victory in April 2015. Their most recent defeat here was a 4-3 thriller in December 2013.
Fiorentina almost opened the scoring within 120 seconds, as Federico Chiesa pounced on a Mohamed Fares error to send Giovanni Simeone clear, but Caracciolo cleared practically off the line.
Hellas took a shock lead on a corner, as Romulo’s cross found Serie A debutant Jagos Vukovic for a free header from six yards, German Pezzella allowing him to jump undisturbed.
Just as Fiorentina had a great chance with Marco Benassi’s looping header cleared off the line by Caracciolo, Hellas went on the counter and scored a second moments later. Moise Kean tapped in a cross to the back post from ex-Viola forward Ryder Matos.
The pattern repeated itself after the restart, as Federico Chiesa’s strike cannoned off the upright and within 10 seconds Verona had countered for Kean to tap in his second of the game on a Bruno Petkovic assist.
Fiorentina finally caught a break with a stroke of luck, as substitute Gil Dias readjusted his position to volley in a deflected cross from seven yards.
It didn’t last long, because Verona immediately restored their three-goal cushion on another counter-attack. Vincent Laurini intercepted the Romulo cross for Matos, so it accidentally turned into an assist for Alex Ferrari.
Milan Badelj’s curler bounced off the top of the bar and Nicolas denied Gil Dias a second.
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