Fiorentina kept their promise. Before the match, Cesare Prandelli had declared “We will not simply be defending our 1-0 victory from the first leg, Rosenborg is a team which must be attacked“. Said and done: the 2-1 final scoreline (3-1 on aggregate) is witness that La Viola’s ticket to the next round was obtained through a series of scoring chances and technical displays, albeit with a few defensive mistakes too many. The clean sheet is gone, but this year’s record of only Serie A team unbeaten in Europe remains.
Tactically, and staying consistent with his pre-game declarations, Prandelli fielded what essentially constitutes Fiorentina’s best starting eleven: Frey in net, backline formed by Ujfalusi, Kroldrup, Dainelli and Pasqual, and a 3-man midfield (Donadel, Liverani, Montolivo) supporting a 3-man attack (Semioli, Pazzini, Mutu). Rosenborg was not to be underestimated, but almost as if their manager’s words weren’t sufficient, the Fiorentina players needed bit of a “push” from their Norwegian opponents in order to ‘wake up’. Indeed, the first couple of minutes of the match were at the initiative of Rosenborg, virtually unrecognizable compared to the team from a week ago: physically and tactically in much better shape, Sebastien Frey saw danger lurking close to his net.
Eventually however, the Viola players pushed up the rhythm and began occupying the wings: Pasqual-Montolivo-Mutu on the left, Ujfalusi, Donadel, Semioli on the right. It was precisely from the latter part of the field that Fiorentina’s first goal arrived: from Riccardo Montolivo to Franco Semioli, waiting for the overlap of Marco Donadel deep towards the goal-line. The Viola midfielder’s cross to the edge of the box found Fabio Liverani, whose instep shot to the right caught the Norwegian keeper off balance. 1-0 Fiorentina. The half ended on that scoreline, but not before Kroldrup had the perfect chance to double his team’s lead, and incredibly missed the open-net following a corner-kick.
After the break, Rosenborg tried once again to surprise their opponents, and immediately pushed forward. The visiting team’s “rush” (if one may call it that way) lasted only a few minutes however, and it didn’t take long for Mutu & friends to begin dominating ball possession again. Midway through the half Martin Jorgensen came on for Montolivo, and the Danish player immediately came close to scoring on his first touch (were it not for a close-range deflection of a Rosenborg defender). Minutes later, Sebastien Frey had his first real fright of the night, when a suicidal backpass of Liverani found the header of Koné in anticipation, fortunately for Fiorentina over the crossbar. Shortly after, an almost-own-goal deflection of Dainelli found the ready hands of the Viola keeper. Fiorentina were taking unnecessary risks.
Fortunately, all Viola worries were brushed away when Daniele Cacia redirected a perfect Pasqual delivery into the net: a beautiful left-footed flick on the volley, from close range. 2-0 Fiorentina in minute 80. The Viola second goal was essentially the last highlight of the night, even though Rosenborg eventually managed to take one back in stoppage time (Sapara cross from the left wing, re-directed by Koné from close-range). 2-1, but too little too late for the Norwegians. Fiorentina’s next European commitment will be on March 6 against Everton, but in the meantime there’s AS Roma this week-end, another very vital match in light of European Cup qualification. A bigger cup this time: the UEFA Champions League.
|GOALSCORERS: 37’ Liverani (F), 80’ Cacia (F), 89’ Y.Koné (R)|
|FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Ujfalusi, Dainelli, Kroldrup, Pasqual – Donadel, Liverani (81’ Kuzmanovic), Montolivo (63’ Jorgensen) – Semioli, Pazzini (72’ Cacia), Mutu. (bench: Avramov, Gamberini, Osvaldo, Morelli). Coach: Prandelli.|
|ROSENBORG (4-4-1-1): Jarstein – Basma (54’ Lago), Kvarme, Demidov, Nordvik – Storflor, Tettey, Skjelbred, Konan (71’ Iversen) – Sapara – Y.Koné (90’ Pelu). (bench: Hansen, Berbatovci, Aas). Coach: Henriksen .|