It was far from an ideal ‘debut’ for Cesare Prandelli, as Fiorentina lost 1-0 to Benevento at home, with Giacomo Bonaventura and Franck Ribery injured.
Beppe Iachini was fired just before the break for international duty, so two weeks later, Prandelli was able to make his debut. It was in fact a return to the Viola bench, as he was already a fan favourite here from 2005-10. He moved straight to a 4-2-3-1 formation, although Giacomo Bonaventura pulled out in the warm-up with an ankle problem, replaced by Alfred Duncan. Benevento missed Bryan Dabo due to COVID and suspended Gianluca Caprari, trying to shore up the defence after four consecutive defeats.
Franck Ribery laid it off for Cristiano Biraghi to blast over, while Artur Ionita failed to make the most of a Bartlomiej Dragowski error.
The tempo was very slow between two teams on bad form who were visibly frightened of making mistakes. Pasquale Schiattarella made up for his error with a sliding tackle on Ribery just inside the area.
However, during that run, Ribery seemed to sprain his knee and limped off, replaced by Riccardo Saponara. Roberto Insigne was thrown on by Pippo Inzaghi to inject some pace and creativity to Benevento.
The deadlock was finally broken on 52 minutes when Gabriele Moncini caught Biraghi in possession, rolled across and Riccardo Improta placed a precise snooker shot into the near bottom corner from the edge of the area. It was his debut Serie A goal at the 10th appearance.
Castrovilli just failed to get his diving header to a Biraghi cross at the back post, but Benevento had the better chances, Dragowski getting down to palm a Roberto Insigne shot round the base of the upright, then German Pezzella flinging himself in the way of Moncini’s counter-attack and another Insigne effort.
Insigne pounced on a new Biraghi error, but was unable to keep the curler on target, while Dragowski flew to fingertip a simply sensational long-range Gianluca Lapadula free kick out from under the bar.
Fiorentina’s best opportunity came on 86 minutes, a low Pol Lirola cross finding the cheeky Dusan Vlahovic back-heel flick, but Lorenzo Montipò parried with pure instinct from six yards.
Lapadula wasted the chance to make it 2-0 on the counter in stoppages.
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