Fiorentina absolutely demolished Inter in a 4-1 drubbing with Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic bagging a spectacular brace each.
This was a head-to-head for Europe and the Nerazzurri’s first game since losing Diego Milito for six months with a knee ligament injury. He joined Walter Samuel, Cristian Chivu, Luca Castellazzi, Joel Obi and Gaby Mudingayi on the absentee list, but Zdravko Kuzmanovic faced his former club with 18-year-old Mateo Kovacic given his full Serie A debut. Fiorentina welcomed back Alberto Aquilani from his two-match ban. The Viola hadn’t beaten Inter in Serie A, home or away, since 2006. Patron Diego Della Valle returned to the Stadio Franchi stands for the first time since March 2010.
Stevan Jovetic had a great chance at the third minute, running on to a long ball only for Samir Handanovic to block the low drive with his legs.
It was all Fiorentina in the opening stages and the opening goal seemed inevitable. It arrived when a Manuel Pasqual cross was flicked on by Jovetic to reach the unmarked Adem Ljajic for a diving header from six yards.
Moments later Jovetic had acres of space to gather a pull-back and prepare his shot, forcing Handanovic into a tough save, as Inter were being torn apart. Handanovic also denied Borja Valero after a smart given-and-go with Jovetic, although the Spaniard had strayed offside.
Kuzmanovic smashed just past the far top corner from the D against his old club, but Fiorentina doubled their lead with a Jovetic stunner.
He had been struggling for form, but dribbled away from Andrea Ranocchia to curl an unstoppable right-foot strike into the far top corner from the edge of the box.
Handanovic again used his legs to parry a Borja Valero volley at the back stick, then needed two touches to smother an Aquilani effort. The goalkeeper had his palms stung by a Borja Valero long-range effort before the break.
Andrea Stramaccioni had to change something and introduced Ricky Alvarez for Kovacic, but Juan Cuadrado’s snapshot was deflected just past the far stick off Juan Jesus.
The Viola added a third, the second of the night for Jovetic. Much of the credit goes to Aquilani, who immediately flicked a poor Yuto Nagatomo clearance with his heel to set up the Montenegrin, unmarked to smash home inside the area. It was an inspired and instinctive assist.
A scuffle broke out after Juan Jesus was booked for elbowing Jovetic and he will be suspended for the Milan Derby next Sunday.
Inter were still AWOL at the Stadio Franchi and went 4-0 down. Borja Valero’s pass found Ljajic on the edge of the box and he had all the time in the world to curl a wonderful finish into the far top corner.
Alvaro Pereira was booked for a crunching tackle on Cuadrado and will also be suspended for the Derby. Meanwhile, Fiorentina gave Momo Sissoko his debut after a January loan move from PSG.
When Ezequiel Schelotto did manage to get down the right and put in a cross for Inter, Andrea Ranocchia and Cassano both went for the ball, colliding with each other.
It was nearly 5-0, but Handanovic stood his ground and used his foot to parry when Mounir El Hamdaoui sprung the offside trap.
However, Cassano made the scoreline slightly less embarrassing with an absolute blockbuster, as he smashed in a powerful strike from the edge of the box. Considering the result, FantAntonio did not celebrate.
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