Serie A Week 23 - 19 Feb 2021 (17.30 UK)
Fiorentina 3 - 0 Spezia
Vlahovic 48 (F), Castrovilli 64 (F), Eysseric 83 (F)
Stadio Artemio Franchi

Gaetano Castrovilli came off the bench and changed the game with Spezia, scoring one goal, assisting Dusan Vlahovic and sparking another for Valentin Eysseric.

Watch the highlights here

The Viola were two points behind Serie A newcomers Spezia in the table going into this game and missed star man Franck Ribery, while Gaetano Castrovilli was benched. Vincenzo Italiano’s men were fresh from shock wins over Milan and Sassuolo, despite top scorer M’Bala Nzola, Diego Farias and Claudio Terzi injuries, plus had Simone Bastoni and Martin Erlic suspended here, but started ex-Fiorentina flops Riccardo Saponara and Kevin Agudelo.

It was Agudelo who had the first chance, sliding in to turn inches wide on a Luca Vignali pull-back, but Riccardo Marchizza was stretchered off in the opening minutes after he was left dazed by an accidental Christian Kouame knock to the head.

Cristiano Biraghi had a double chance, the first shot charged down by Vignali and the rebound off target, while Lucas Martinez Quarta needed a sensational sliding tackle on Nahuel Estevez clear in the penalty area.

A ferocious Matteo Ricci volley from the edge of the box skimmed the upright, but Fiorentina then lost Giacomo Bonaventura to a sprained ankle.

Biraghi remained the most dangerous Viola player in attack with an acrobatic volley over the bar.

The game was changed with the use of VAR, because Fiorentina’s goal was originally disallowed. It took technology to confirm that Castrovilli had somehow managed to keep the ball in play when hooking Biraghi’s cross back from the by-line for Dusan Vlahovic to turn into an empty net.

The Viola threatened another soon after, but Ivan Provedel bravely rushed off his line to smother at Valentin Eysseric’s feet after a Vlahovic counter-attack.

Castrovilli added a goal to his assist, as Eysseric was prevented from completing a team move by Julian Chabot’s sliding tackle, but the ball came to Castrovilli to fire into the roof of the net.

Spezia pinned Fiorentina back into their own half, but the hosts were dangerous on the counter, Provedel sticking out a foot to deny Vlahovic on a deflected Castrovilli assist.

Bartlomiej Dragowski had to fingertip away a loose ball from eight yards, but again the Viola struck on the counter. Castrovilli pounced on an Estevez defensive error, Vlahovic drawing defenders towards him in order to roll it across for Eysseric to tap into an empty net.

Dragowski made a save from point-blank range on Roberto Piccoli, as Spezia pushed to the end.

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Fiorentina: Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Martinez Quarta; Venuti (Caceres 85), Bonaventura (Castrovilli 45), Pulgar, Amrabat (Borja Valero 60), Biraghi (Igor 85); Kouame (Eysseric 46), Vlahovic
Spezia: Provedel; Vignali (Piccoli 85), Ismajli, Chabot; Marchizza (Ramos 11); Estevez, Ricci, Maggiore (Sena 63); Gyasi, Agudelo (Galabinov 63), Saponara (Verde 63)
Ref: Calvarese