Away mission accomplished for Cesare Prandelli’s men! Next week, Fiorentina will be receiving Rosenborg SK at the Stadio Artemio Franchi of Florence, with the peace of mind of having obtained a valuable away victory in Trondheim. 1-0 is a thin scoreline, but the match will undoubtedly be easier at home than in the cold weather of Norway.
The Fiorentina coach had prepared this match with a really offensive mindset, asking his players not to be afraid to push forward and confirming his plans by fielding a 3-man striking force: Franco Semioli, Giampaolo Pazzini, and the always reliable Adrian Mutu. It didn’t take very long for Fiorentina to obtain their first chances on net, the most notable of which a Riccardo Montolivo shot inches wide, exploiting a good feed by Martin Jorgensen.
5 minutes later, La Viola went ahead. Zdravko Kuzmanovic opened up a good pass for Massimo Gobbi on the left wing, and the Fiorentina midfielder shifted towards the center before powering a hard diagonal shot which could only be parried away by the Norwegian keeper. Adrian Mutu was there to apply the easy open-net finish, 1-0 Fiorentina.
The opening goal did nothing to slow down La Viola’s attacking endeavors, and the visiting team came close to increasing their lead 3 times before the half, once through Pazzini and another two times with Mutu. The music didn’t change much in the 2nd half, because Mutu & friends really got the upper hand on the physical level the more play progressed. Indeed, Rosenborg may well be the most decorated team in the Norwegian Premier League (20 championship titles, 13 of which consecutive from years 1992 to 2004), but they have not played a competitive game since December (regular season spans from March to the end of the year in Norway), so evidently their sprinting abilities are still a bit off.
On top of that, Prandelli’s boys were really on fire tonight, in particular Tomas Ujfalusi (always pushing up down his wing) and Zdravko Kuzmanovic (present in almost every offensive play of Fiorentina). Mutu was playing the key-pass-provider part to perfection, but unfortunately those he was setting up (Montolivo and Cacia) left a bit to desire with their finishing.
In the final minutes of the game, the home team finally gave a few scares to Sebastien Frey, with Didier Ya Konan hitting the post (exploiting a big Jorgensen mistake close to goal) and a Marek Sapara free-kick (brilliantly parried away by the French Viola keeper). At the end of the 90 minutes, a 1-1 scoreline would have really been cruel for Fiorentina who essentially dominated the whole match, but couldn’t put the nail in the coffin despite the chances they obtained. A shame… a 2-0 away lead on aggregate would have been even more comfortable.
|GOALSCORERS: 16’ Mutu (F)|
|ROSENBORG (4-3-1-2): Jarstein – Stoor, Kvarme, Demidov, Nordvik – Skjelbred, Strand (76’ Storflor), A.R.Traoré – Sapara – Iversen (46’ Konan), Y.Koné. (bench: Hansen, Lago, Basma, Aas, Pelu). Coach: Henriksen.|
|FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Ujfalusi, Gamberini, Kroldrup, Gobbi (46’ Pasqual) – Kuzmanovic (85’ Santana), Jorgensen, Montolivo – Semioli, Pazzini (72’ Cacia), Mutu. (bench: Avramov, Dainelli, Potenza, Di Carmine). Coach: Prandelli.|