SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 5 - 25 Oct 2020 (17.00 UK)
Fiorentina 3 - 2 Udinese
Castrovilli 10, 51 (F), Milenkovic 21 (F), Okaka 43, 86 (U)
Stadio Artemio Franchi

Gaetano Castrovilli and Stefano Okaka bagged braces, but it was Fiorentina who hung on under late Udinese pressure for the 3-2 victory.

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The Viola were feeling the pressure already after a poor opening to the season, so Jose Callejon got his first start in place of injured Franck Ribery as a striker rather than a wing-back. The Friulani made the trip without Juan Musso, Jens Stryger-Larsen, Rolando Mandragora, Mato Jajalo and Bram Nuytinck.

Pol Lirola was wreaking havoc down the right flank and he sparked the opening goal too, his cross taken down by Cristiano Biraghi at the far post, pulling back from the by-line for Gaetano Castrovilli to turn in from nine yards.

Udinese were almost gifted the equaliser, but Kevin Lasagna couldn’t make the most of Bartlomiej Dragowski fumbling a cross.

Instead, the Viola doubled their lead and Castrovilli was again involved. A free kick was only cleared to the midfielder, who floated a ball to the back post for Nikola Milenkovic’s totally free header.

Milenkovic was also decisive at the other end with a last-ditch tackle on Roberto Pereyra, while Dragowski had to make himself big to parry from Kevin Lasagna, who had easily out-sprinted Martin Caceres.

German Pezzella had been in doubt with an ankle problem and limped off before the break, giving Argentina international Lucas Martinez Quarta his debut.

Udinese had been pushing and got one back before the break when Rodrigo De Paul pulled back from the right for Stefano Okaka’s diving header.

They threatened an equaliser too, but Sebastien De Maio and Rodrigo Becao both went for the same cross and the former nodded over the bar.

Castrovilli continued his remarkable evening by adding another goal to his tally. He started the move, spread it to the left for Cristiano Biraghi and then pounced on a lucky ricochet for the return pass, blasting it right-footed into the top corner from just inside the area. It was the first brace of his career.

Sebastien De Maio’s volley was charged down, but Dragowski needed an extraordinary reaction save on Okaka’s volley from point-blank range from a free kick. On the resulting corner, Roberto Pereyra curled wide, then in their bid to reach the Ignacio Pussetto cross, both Lasagna and Lirola clattered into the upright, a knock that eventually forced them both to limp off.

Gerard Deulofeu came off the bench and immediately forced another great one-handed save from Dragowski with his curler towards the far top corner.

The pressure eventually paid off, as Okaka was given too much time and space to prepare his header on a Fernando Forestieri cross from the left.

Fiorentina spent the final minutes pinned back in their own half desperately dealing with crosses from all angles, but managed to cling on for three precious points.

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Fiorentina: Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella (Martinez Quarta 38), Caceres; Lirola (Venuti 79), Bonaventura (Pulgar 79), Amrabat, Castrovilli, Biraghi; Vlahovic (Cutrone 66), Callejon (Kouame 66)
Udinese: Nicolas; Becao, De Maio, Samir (Bonifazi 82); Molina, De Paul, Arslan (Walace 54), Pereyra (Forestieri 82), Ouwejan (Pussetto 54); Okaka, Lasagna (Deulofeu 70)
Ref: Fourneau