Posts Tagged ‘Cesare Prandelli’

Fiorentina 3-0 Reggina: Viola on Cruise-Control, Gilardino Can’t Stop Scoring… Even From the Subs Bench (Serie A Matchday 7)

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Chalk up the third consecutive Serie A win for Fiorentina. There was nothing earth-shattering in La Viola’s performance against Reggina tonight, but on day of mourning for the upper management (Maria Della Valle, mother of Diego & Andrea, passed away earlier this week) the brother-presidents will be satisfied to see their team is steadily cruising towards a good very good Serie A season.

Prandelli was rotating his team tonight, yet his boys played a calm game, in control (even during the -rare- offensive assaults of their opponents) and didn’t succumb to frustration when the ball refused to enter the net. What better way to prepare for Tuesday’s upcoming match against Bayern Munich (at Allianz Arena, for which Luca Toni is in doubt).

As for Alberto Gilardino, well… numbers speak for themselves. 18 minutes played, two goals. This team really can’t do without him.


Fiorentina 0-0 Steaua Bucharest: Viola Hit A Romanian Wall (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

Second consecutive draw for Fiorentina in the UEFA Champions League. The Viola could not do better than a 0-0 result on Tuesday, blocked by a tough & well-organized Steaua Bucharest side, surprising not only in their disciplined defensive organization but also with their fair share of technical players (above all, António Semedo, Banel Nicolita, and Dayro Moreno).

And so, not even the free-kicks of Adrian Mutu and the pouncing shots of Alberto Gilardino were enough, as Cesare Prandelli’s boys had to settle for a draw. In light of the other match’s result from group F however (Bayern 1-1 Lyon), grabbing a point shouldn’t be considered all that bad. In other words, the glass is half full for Fiorentina… for now.

(From KwSport): Prandelli’s main plan for tonight, relied on the experience of Alessandro Gamberini and Juan Manuel Vargas at the back, the creativity of Sergio Almiron & Mario Santana in midfield, and the finishing of Mutu / Gilardino up front. On the other end however, Steaua manager Marius Lacatus (who even spent a season in Tuscany back in 1990-91) had installed a very thick & effective central dam, populated by the likes of Mirel Radoi & Florin Lovin in midfield and completed by the tall & powerful Dorin Goian and Sorin Ghionea at the back. In addition, the Viola coach soon had to find a solution to the Antonio Semedo problem on the right wing. Indeed, the Portuguese winger very rapidly became Martin Jorgensen’s nightmare, constantly beating the Danish wing-back on the run and creating all sorts of problems to the Viola backline.

Thus with the path down the middle being thoroughly guarded, and the wings not being much effective either, Fiorentina were forced to operate on speed coupled with the long-ball tactic. Not exactly the home special in Casa Viola: except for a few shots (very wide) by Mutu, the first half ended without major excitement. 0-0 HT.

In the second period, Prandelli patched up his right side by inserting Luciano Zauri for Jorgensen, which had its effects almost immediately. Semedo was neutralized, remained the creativity problem. And in that area unfortunately, the Steaua iron defense continued to get the upper hand, and this despite the increasingly greater Viola ball possession. Thus, remained the long-range solution, at which point Adrian Mutu‘s ballistic skills were called into action. His 66th minute free-kick on the outside part of the post was essentially the biggest chance of the night, even though Mutu repeated himself 10 minutes later and headed the side netting, after a good Kuzmanovic cross.

Definitely not enough to deserve three points today, especially if one considers the series of super-saves Sebastien Frey had to provide, on the several Steaua counter-attacks that landed inside the Fiorentina box. His 78th and 79th minute saves on Semedo (low short-range effort) and Szekely (long-range blast) were nothing short of miraculous, as the entire Artemio Franchi held their breath at the possible hold-up goal.

Bottom line: there are still 4 matches left and today’s draw can’t be considered all that bad, but Fiorentina’s job in group F just got a little harder. The next double header vs. Bayern Munich (currently top of the group with 4 points) will undoubtedly be decisive for La Viola’s fate in the UCL.


 ACF Fiorentina
[Match Highlights]
 FC Steaua Bucureşti
GOALSCORERS: 1′, 42′ Gilardino (F), 73’ Piquionne (L), 86’ Benzema (L).
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Jorgensen (46’ Zauri), Gamberini , Dainelli, Vargas – Montolivo (81’ Pazzini), Felipe Melo, Almirón (74’ Kuzmanovic) – Santana, Mutu, Gilardino. (bench: Storari, Kroldrup, Donadel, Osvaldo). Coach: Prandelli.
STEAUA BUCHAREST (4-4-1-1): Zapata – Ogararu, Goian, Ghionea, Marin – Nicolita, Radoi, Lovin, Semedo (93’ Kapetanos) – Moreno (93’ Tiago Gomes) – Stancu (77’ Szekely). (Cernea, Baciu, Golanski, Toja). Coach: Lacatus.


Fiorentina 1-0 Genoa: Gilardino Rebirth Continues, Viola Fly (Serie A Matchday 5)

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Reverse engines, full 180º, nitro boost. After his team’s brutal mid-week loss to Lazio, Cesare Prandelli must have found the right words to remotivate his men Saturday. A battling and determined Fiorentina side, led by the continued moment of form of a reborn Alberto Gilardino, brushed their Genoa visitors aside and went on to take a vital three points in the Serie A.

And speaking of Gilardino, that’s his third goal in five matches. For someone who the previous season could only score 7 in 30 with AC Milan, goal averages are definitely on the rise. Music to Della Valle’s ears…

(From Gazzetta dello Sport): La Viola started the match with great intensity, looking to pressure their opponents high up the field, aided in no small part by the home crowd support (immediately willing to forget the mid-week 0-3 Lazio debacle). It was only natural then, to see Fiorentina get the first scoring chances in this one: first Mutu (header narrowly wide) then Montolivo (cracking shot from mid-range parried away by the keeper) gave Gasperini’s team the first scares. Then of course there was a certain Gilardino, seemingly back to his “good Parma days”: playing as a real target-man, the ex-Milan striker was shielding the ball, allowing his teammates to overlap (Semioli, Felipe Melo, and Gobbi notably), and providing an otherwise constant danger to the Rossoblu defense.

On the other end, Genoa were having some problems getting “into” the game, especially because their coach had chosen to leave Diego Milito on the side. All that changed in the second half though, when the Argentine striker was inserted into the mix. Well served by a Marco Rossi pass, Milito was given a one-on-one chance with Sebastien Frey almost right away, but the French goalie demonstrated (yet again) why he still is one of Serie A’s best keepers around. Just a few minutes earlier, Ruben Olivera had a good mid-range effort saved by Viola’s nº1.

Alas for the visitors, the two Genoan chances were a prelude to Fiorentina’s goal. The provider? Who else but Alberto Gilardino, La Viola’s man-of-the-moment. Controlling a looping ball inside the Genoa box, the Azzurri striker managed to shield it from three nearby defenders, turn around with a few touches, and send an unstoppable diagonal half-volley straight into the bottom right corner. A pure striker’s goal, the kind Viola supporters had not seen since Luca Toni’s departure to Bavaria. 1-0 Fiorentina

At this point, Prandelli decided to play it safe by inserting Pazzini & Santana for Semioli & Gilardino, just to keep his troops fresh on the field. Fiorentina had a few more chances on goal through Mutu (wide) and Osvaldo (well saved by Rubinho), while Frey dominated his box on the other end and kept his team safe. It was thus a well-deserved win for Prandelli’s side, who can look at Tuesday’s UCL fixture against Steaua Bucharest with renewed optimism.


 ACF Fiorentina
[Match Highlights]
 Genoa C.F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 61’ Gilardino (F).
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Jorgensen, Dainelli, Kroldrup, Gobbi – Montolivo, Melo, Donadel – Semioli (66’ Santana), Gilardino (66’ Pazzini), Mutu (83’ Osvaldo). (bench: Storari, Gamberini, Zauri, Kuzmanovic). Coach: Prandelli.
GENOA (3-4-3): Rubinho – Papastathopoulos, Ferrari, Criscito – M.Rossi, Milanetto (41′ Juric), Vanden Borre (60’ Modesto), Bocchetti – Olivera, Palladino, Mesto (51’ D.Milito). (bench: Scarpi, Sculli, Jankovic, Biava). Coach: Gasperini.


Lyon 2-2 Fiorentina: Alberto Gilardino Strikes Twice… But the French Get Back (UEFA Champions League 2008-09)

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Fiorentina had the French “Lion” almost tamed. In their nth rendez-vous with top European football (since the 2001-02 season, OL have won 7 consecutive Ligue 1 championships), Lyon started the match at ferocious pace, but after a couple whip-cracks by Alberto Gilardino (coupled with an almost flawless Viola defence) the beast had stopped roaring.

However, thanks in no small part to Swedish referee Peter Frojdfelt, the French team got the helping hand they needed to draw level. A shame, because this was probably the best version of La Viola since the season’s start.

(From Gazzetta): Lyon’s start was frightening. The French lauched themselves forward with full of use of their offensive weapons: Fred, Govou, Juninho and most of all Karim Benzema. Remarkably however it was Mathieu Bodmer, a defender, who fired the overhead shot hitting the crossbar and making the Viola fans shiver.

But then in minute 11, La Viola found the way to flip the game inside out: Montolivo recovered the ball, Felipe Melo switched the play to the right to Luciano Zauri, whose cross found the noggin of Alberto Gilardino. Violin-man’s lovely diving header opened the scoring, and Prandelli was ecstatic. 1-0 Fiorentina.

A goal which really did the trick for the visitors, pumping gas into the Viola’s game and morale. Of course, the French responded with venom, mainly through Benzema who was driving Zauri mad on the left flank (but Frey always kept close guard right behind him). Then there were the Fiorentina counter-attacks, with Sergio Almiron hitting the top corner with a shot for the highlights reel, and Adrian Mutu who (thanks to Boumsong’s mistakes) forced goalkeeper Hugo Lloris into a miraculous save. Also, there was La Viola’s second goal: a textbook maneuver that sent Mutu down the right flank to provide the pinpoint cross for Il Gila. ‘Nother header, and 2-0 Fiorentina.

Lyon began the second half in the same manner as the first, pounding away through the drive of Benzema and Juninho. On occasion the French pressure was incessant, but the Viola were organised in defence and Frey continued to be exceptional. French coach Claude Puel tried some substitutions, shortly imitated by Cesare Prandelli (ready to play the Alberto Santana card).

Then however came the episode that opened the match up for Lyon, something which will much talked about in the week to come. With Zauri writhing in pain on the ground (he later had to be stretchered off and substituted) Lyon calmy manufactured their goal via a Benzema-Piquionne combination, amid protests from the Viola to kick the ball out and the complete indifference of the referee (the same referee which had allowed Van Nistelrooy’s goal vs. Italy to stand during Euro 2008). 2-1.

From that moment the game changed, and the French, aided by the psychological blow to their opponents, found the equaliser five minutes from the end. From 30 yards out, everyone expected Juninho Pernambucano to deliver one of his famous free-kicks, but instead the Brazilian midfielder faked the shot and rolled the ball towards Benzema on the right. The French youngster, devoid of marking, then simply had to slam a hard shot towards the first post, surprising Frey. 2-2.

Just as not all teams are like the Viola, not all teams are famous for their fair play.


Olympique Lyonnais
[Match Highlights]
 ACF Fiorentina
GOALSCORERS: 1′, 42′ Gilardino (F), 73’ Piquionne (L), 86’ Benzema (L).
LYON (4-3-2-1): Lloris – Reveillere, Boumsong, Bodmer, Kallstroem – Makoun (60’ Ederson), Toulalan, Juninho – Govou (89’ Mounier), Benzema – Fred (65’ Piquionne). (bench: Vercoutre, Cris, Gassama, Mensah, Pjanic). Coach: Puel.
FIORENTINA (4-3-1-2): Frey – Zauri (76’ Jorgensen), Kroldrup, Dainelli, Vargas – Almirón, Felipe Melo, Montolivo – Kuzmanovic (64’ Santana) – Gilardino (81’ PazzinI), Mutu. (bench: Storari, Gobbi, Donadel, Jovetic). Coach: Prandelli.


Fiorentina 1-1 Juventus: Bianconeri Waste Too Many Chances, Gilardino Says Thank You (Serie A Matchday 1)

Monday, September 1st, 2008

A good Juventus and a very resolute Fiorentina side gave life to an entertaining and exciting contest for fans in attendance at the Artemio Franchi stadium, with the game’s final result never certain until the referee’s final whistle. In the end it finished 1-1, courtesy of goals by Nedved and Gilardino.

Juve, 1-0 up with one minute to go (and one extra man due to a Viola dismissal), were certainly the more disappointed of the two sides, but Ranieri can nonetheless smile with some satisfaction. Indeed, his side created more chances than their opponents and showed solidity, character and determination in a difficult away fixture (especially against a traditionally bitter rival and direct challenger for the Serie A title).

(From Gazzetta dello Sport): Just like last year in the reverse fixture in Turin, the Viola were able to draw themselves level, but could not eventually find the winner: this time around it would have been too much to ask. It’s important to also acknowledge tonight’s scorers: Pavel Nedved, who had left training in a stretcher just last week, but who in this fixture gave a very energetic display as he ran the pitch tirelessly. He’s one of those players who rarely fails to turn up for important games. Then there was Alberto Gilardino, La Viola’s main attacking threat and the man whose goals will (in all likelihood) determine how well the Tuscan side will do this season.

FURIA CECA - The first half was played out at a discrete rhythm with neither side gaining the upper hand, both teams seemingly paying the price for their midweek Champions League excursions. Fiorentina for their part were making good use of both wings, with Mario Santana putting Molinaro in difficulty and Juan Manuel Vargas doing a lot of running on the other side. Juve’s reply on the other end came in the shape of Poulsen’s muscle and by way of some good exchanges between Del Piero and Amauri, the pair looking to find one another fairly frequently.

However there was not much in terms of goal scoring chances. The visitors’ goal finally came in the 39th minute, Zdenek Grygera skipping past a man (in one of the defender’s rare forays down the wing) and crossing in for Pavel Nedved: the Czech midfielder then duly obliged his compatriot’s delivery by connecting with the cross to score in an empty net. 1-0 Juventus.

Fiorentina were suddenly on the back foot, and Juve twice came close to dealing the Viola the knockout punch: first with a header from Amauri, and then through Del Piero (who failed to beat an outrushing Frey). 1-0 at the break.

SECOND HALF - Fiorentina began the second half in a much more aggressive fashion, and were more dangerous going forward thanks in no small part to the introduction of Stevan Jovetic (once again, mark my words: keep this kid under close watch). Vargas also came close with a free-kick and Gilardino carved himself a decent opening when he managed to skip past Mellberg, but then put his shot wide (as a desperate Buffon had come flying out of his goal).

Juve however defended solidly, and took advantage of Camoranesi’s technical mastery (better as the game progressed) and Del Piero’s ball control to hit their opponents on the counter. The Bianconeri captain was providing some useful contributions in the final third and came extremely close to scoring, when his 30m free-kick went just narrowly wide.

The game maintained its entertaining edge right till the very end, highly competitive (too competitive in some instances especially when Felipe Melo was sent off for a bad foul) and rich in tension as both sets of players were showing the strong desire to win. But none as much as Alberto Gilardino, who in the 89th minute (just as the Bianconeri looked set to clinch the victory) showed excellent technique, good timing and a lot of cunning to turn Mellberg and slot the ball past a helpless Buffon. 1-1.

In time added on, Juve tried to claim back the three points that they believed they rightly deserved, but Frey did well to save from an Amauri top-corner howitzer, and Del Piero once again put a free-kick just narrowly wide. The Bianconeri were forced to share the spoils…


 ACF Fiorentina
[Match Highlights]
Juventus F.C.
GOALSCORERS: 39’ Nedved (J), 89’ Gilardino (F).
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Frey – Zauri, Gamberini, Kroldrup, Vargas – Almirón (54’ Jovetic), Felipe Melo, Donadel (79’ Kuzmanovic) – Santana, Gilardino, Osvaldo (63’ Pazzini). (bench: Storari, Dainelli, Pasqual, Gobbi). Coach: Prandelli.
JUVENTUS (4-4-2): Buffon – Grygera, Legrottaglie, Mellberg, Molinaro (74’ De Ceglie) – Camoranesi (88’ Iaquinta), Marchisio, Poulsen, Nedved – Amauri, Del Piero. (bench: Manninger, Knezevic, Salihamidzic, Tiago, Giovinco). Coach: Ranieri.