Match in a sentence
Stevan Jovetic and Adem Ljajic both shared two goals each, as Fiorentina blitzed Inter Milan at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and joined the race for the final Champions League spot.
- Andrea Stramaccioni fielded his side in a 4-3-1-2 with Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio leading the line. Fredy Guarin played behind the strikers and Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Mateo Kovacic and Esteban Cambiasso played in midfield.
- Vincenzo Montella opted to play in a 4-3-3 with Stevan Jovetic, Adem Ljajic and Juan Cuadrado as the front three. The midfield consisted of Alberto Aquilani, David Pizarro and Borja Valero.
- This match was everything we expected it not to be; frankly it was men against boys from start to finish. Fiorentina took the game to Inter from the start, and they looked dangerous sending balls over the Inter Milan defence for Llajic and Jovetic to run onto. Jovetic and Ljajic drifted to the left as it looked like they targeted Javier Zanetti, but they caused havoc all over the final third.
- Inter sat deep in two banks of four, inviting the Fiorentina pressure, and looked to break on the counter. Coincidentally, whenever Inter got into Fiorentina’s half, Fiorentina mirrored Inter’s defensive approach. The difference was Fiorentina defended better than Inter for 90 minutes and the way both sides broke on the counter.
- Inter lacked cohesion going forward and was unable to break as a unit. The space between Guarin and the midfield three was too big (due to how deep they sat), and Guarin was unable to link up with Palacio or Cassano.
- Fiorentina on the other hand broke quick in numbers whenever they won possession and always looked a threat going forward. The other difference was that when they lost possession, they were able to get numerous bodies back into position quickly. Inter left Palacio and Cassano high as it would create 2v2 or 2v3 chances on the break, but Montella’s men were aware of that and with help from Inter being unable to break quickly Palacio and Cassano had a quiet afternoon.
- Fiorentina controlled possession throughout the game and it took only 13 minutes for the Viola to take the lead. Inter’s backline was unable to deal with a cross that Jovetic flicked on for the unmarked Ljajic, who headed the ball past Samir Handanovic.
- Another key factor that separated these sides was how both sides pressed one another. Fiorentina pressed the Inter backline and midfield when they picked up the ball in their third of the pitch, whereas Inter decided to apply no pressure to Fiorentina in their third. Fiorentina’s pressure led to Jovetic’s fabulous second goal. Inter tried to play from the back and Aquilani ‘s pressure forced Inter to concede possession to Jovetic, and the Montenegrin striker rifled his shot past Handanovic.
- Inter Milan chose not to press the Fiorentina players in their half of the field and it allowed Pizarro to dominate the game. The Chilean midfielder was able to drop deep and pick up the ball with no pressure applied, and he was allowed to string passes around the pitch at will. Pizarro conducted the game during his 69 minutes on the pitch, dominating the midfield area. Inter’s midfield was anonymous and the minimal times they had possession in Fiorentina’s half they moved the ball too slow and were unable to create any openings.
- Inter was fortunate to be down two goals at the half as Handanovic made several vital saves, keeping the Nerazzuri in the match. Stramaccioni made a tactical change in the second half by bringing on Ricky Alvarez for Kovacic. Alvarez moved to the right flank and Guarin dropped to the midfield, as Inter became a 4-3-3.
- The same narrative occurred in the second half as Fiorentina continued to push forward, but they defended with caution dropping Ljajic deeper when they didn’t have the ball, becoming a 4-5-1. The second half also highlighted how fragile Juan Jesus and Andrea Ranocchia are as defenders.
- Jovetic and Ljajic added to their tally in the opening 20 minutes of the second half and both goals were down to defensive errors. Inter were unable to clear their lines and an unmarked Jovetic was played in alone with Handanovic courtesy of a wonderful back heel pass from Aquilani. Jovetic calmly slotted his shot past the Inter goalkeeper to make it 3-0. Then Ljajic curled in a shot from outside the box, in which Ranocchia should’ve closed down the Serbian, but he allowed the Ljajic all the time in the world.
- Cassano scored a great goal towards the end of the game as a consolation, but that was arguably Inter’s worst game of the season. They were flat from the start, the midfield three lacked creativity and their defending as a team and individually was lethargic. With the loss, Inter are now in severe danger of going another season without Champions League football. After starting the season with 10 away wins in all competitions, the Nerazzuri are winless in their last nine. Inter will need a far better performance next Sunday as Stramaccioni’s men will need a result to stay in the hunt for third place, when they take on cross town rivals AC Milan.
- It was a dominant performance tonight from the Viola and if there was any type of result needed to boost the teams confidence, then it was this one. They outclassed Inter for 90 minutes and now sit two points away from third, playing a game more than Lazio. Fiorentina showed tonight that they’re capable of contending for European football, and if they can build on this result, the thought of it wouldn’t be too farfetched.
1. David Pizarro
2. Stevan Jovetic
3. Adem Ljajic