A very complicated match which gives the Viola mathematical access to the Conference League playoffs.
It took the deficit at the end of the first half to shake the Viola from a first half of the match that was mostly characterized by torpor. Fiorentina-Genk is a complicated match, much more complicated than expected, with the Belgians managing to take advantage of Gigliati’s usual unresolved points for 45 minutes, and with the Tuscans attacking with cold weapons in the second half, stubbornly finding a victory over a very thin thread of nervous tension;
24 shots of which 8 on target for Fiorentina, 4 of which two on target (and one post) for Genk, 2.49 xG at 0.43 (Sofascore): it is the usual, traditional and partly misleading measure of the Viola’s preponderance at Franchi, who are shaking at the start of the match (Genk’s post on a rapid vertical, tainted by an uncertainty from Parisi) and still need the lethal coolness from Nico Gonzalez from the spot to get to the bottom of the match. Responsibility that the Argentine takes on even at the height of a less than brilliant performance, proving the absolute technical leadership of the number 10 for the Italian team;
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The choice to initially leave the young talent El Khannouss, a star in midfield in the first leg, on the bench is perhaps the best gift on a technical level that Genk gives to the Viola. The Belgians decided to face Fiorentina mostly by leveraging counterattacks in wide spaces and defending with a knife between their teeth, but the lack of quality of Vrancken’s team made itself felt in the second half, when Fiorentina increased the pace and intensity of their play. In the end, the loss of control over the entropy of the match will be decisive in tipping the scales against Genk;
The winning penalty was awarded to the returning Michael Kayode, who replaced a still two-faced Parisi at half-time between a great production of forward play and the obvious difficulties of orientation in defense, as he was diverted into the lane of his wrong foot. It seems like a detail, but the recovery of 19-year-old Kayode is an important piece for the Viola, with a disciplined player capable of playing safely despite his young age, in a team that often tends towards distraction. The rigor remedied, rather than confirmation, is the right recognition.
While the center forwards’ abstinence from scoring continues despite Beltran’s good entry (this evening Kouamé started as a central striker, an indicative choice), Fiorentina meanwhile sets their qualification for at least the playoffs in February a day early, maintaining the top of the group. Two results out of three remain in Hungary to immediately secure the ticket for the round of 16: despite the worries, the air of Europe continues to be a panacea for confidence and results for this Fiorentina.
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