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UEFA Europa League
March 21, 2014
• Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 32633
Juventus win Aggregate 2 - 1
A. Pirlo 71'
That's all that we have time for from Juventus' 1-0 Europa League away win over Fiorentina, which is the Old Lady's first win away against Italian opposition in UEFA competition. I've been Simon Harrison, and I hope to see you all again next time.
Gomez and Ilicic missed good chances early on, before a second-half Rodriguez red card left Fiorentina in a world of trouble. Pirlo curled in the resulting free-kick, booking the Old Lady's place in the next round in the process. Still no goals for Tevez, but Conte's men won't mind!
FULL TIME! Howard Webb calls time on the end of this hard fought match, with Juventus progressing to the next round of the Europa League courtesy of a Andrea Pirlo free-kick in a tight 1-0 win! The home side fought well, but just couldn't find the back of the net.
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Neto
90' + 4'
Yellow Card Carlos Tévez
90' + 4'
A square ball from Osvaldo invites Tevez to chase it into the penalty area, with Neto able to slide in and claim the pass. Tevez looks to keep his foot in on the Brazilian goalkeeper, and receives a yellow card for his trouble. The Viola shot-stopper also gets a card for his protests and reaction.
90' + 3'
Juventus continue to press and harry in the final couple of minutes, forcing Viola into long balls which their tired legs just can't chase. Montella's side have got a minute left to salvage their Europa League ambitions.
90' + 1'
There are four minutes of stoppage time for Fiorentina to grab an unlikely equaliser.
VIDAL! WHAT A CHANCE! It's somehow not 2-0, as the Chilean international can't turn home Osvaldo's pinpoint cross with his head! That looked destined for the back of the net, but instead Vidal thuds the ball into the advertising hoardings.
Borja Valero looks exhausted, with the Spanish midfielder having spent all of his energy desperately trying to act as the Viola's catalyst. He's popped up all over the field, linked midfield to attack well and has displayed just how complete of a player he is.
A few minutes remaining, and Matri spurns a good opportunity for Fiorentina to get forward, misplacing his pass which was intended for Borja Valero. Osvaldo replaces Llorente, as Conte looks to freshen up his forward line in the late stages.
Well, it seems that the three toes of Andrea Pirlo have sealed progression through to the next round for Juventus, as the Italy international has previously said that he takes inspiration from Juninho's technique. Aquilani fires at Buffon's goal from 25 yards, but the veteran shot-stopper collects easily.
Cuadrado hacks down Asamoah, who throws himself to the turf, and the Colombian can perhaps feel lucky to remain on the field given his yellow card. Pirlo lifts a pass upfield to Llorente, but the target man once again is marked out of the game and loses possession.
LICHTSTEINER! Juventus are happy to hold onto the ball and run down the clock, with Matri looking incredibly isolated. Only Borja Valero looks likely to try and support the lone striker. Pogba skews an awful effort well wide of the far post ambitiously from 30 yards, before the Swiss races through on goal and denied by a strong hand from Neto.
Asamoah whips in a poor cross from the left hand side, but Neto is able to claim under no pressure. Juve continue to hold onto the ball, and since Rodriguez's dismissal, the away side seem to be losing every second ball. Montella looks deep in thought, the Viola need a goal.
Fiorentina are struggling to get forward due to the mathematical deficit which they are suffering from. Juventus are dominating possession, and it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Bianconeri will go through. Matri's immobility really isn't helping a side that need to break with pace.
EXCELLENT SAVE! Llorente was picked out excellently by Lichtsteiner's cross, but the Brazilian goalkeeper was able to palm the effort away to one side, before the rebound is thumped into Tomovic.
A quarter of an hour to go, and now Fiorentina need to find a goal of their own! As aforementioned, this game has the potential to be turned on its head at any moment. Pirlo releases Isla down the right, before the Chilean cuts back a ball from the byeline. Savic scrambles the ball away.
What a fantastic finish from Pirlo! He won the Old Lady points on his own against Genoa on the weekend, and the veteran's goal could once again have a profound effect on Conte's quest for silverware. Even when things aren't going your way, you can still count on Pirlo to dig you out of a hole.
Goal Andrea Pirlo
GOOOOOOOOAL! WHAT A FANTASTIC FREE-KICK FROM PIRLO! The Juve talisman lifts the ball over the wall, firing his effort into the top right hand corner to give Juve the lead! Cometh the moment, cometh the man.
Yellow/Red Gonzalo Rodríguez
RED CARD! The Fiorentina captain is dismissed , after Rodriguez brings down Llorente on the edge of the penalty area as the Spain international looked to turn his marker. He'd already been booked, but that looked to be a straight red card.
Important header from Savic! Isla whips in yet another cross from the right flank, but the Montenegrin is on hand to prevent it from flying through to the awaiting forehead of Llorente. Juve are starting to enjoy sustained pressure, with Fiorentina dropping very deep.
TEVEZ! The Argentina international manages to take the ball off the foot of Llorente, before shifting it onto his stronger right foot and blasting an effort at goal from 20 yards out! It's straight down Neto's throat, however.
POGBA! The France international manages to beat Ambrosini to a Juve corner delivery, but can't turn the ball towards goal with a scrappy overhead kick, flashing it wide of the far post. The away side are getting that little bit closer, there definitely is a near-tangible inevitability that the Old Lady will convert tonight.
Mario Gomez is replaced by Matri, with the former Bayern man not quite able to find his lethal touch tonight. His contribution to this tie has already been profound, single-handedly finding Fiorentina's away goal, and now it's down to Matri to prove that he deserves a run in Montella's side.
GOMEZ! Half chance for the Germany international! Borja Valero skips past Caceres and into the penalty area, before cutting the ball square to Gomez. The striker sidesteps to escape Bonucci, before being closing down and robbed of the ball by Chiellini. It's just not happening for him tonight.
Half an hour left on the clock, and Fiorentina remain ahead on away goals! There is an inevitability about Juve finding the net, with the Bianconeri converting in every one of the Serie A games so far this season, and Montella probably is well aware that Viola need to score again to put themselves in a commanding position.
VIDAL! That has to be the Old Lady's best chance so far! He arrives late in the penalty area, which he is so good at, but can only direct Isla's cross high and wide! His header rattled the crossbar in the first leg, and the same part of his body couldn't find the net for Juve tonight either.
Brilliant defensive work from Rodriguez, as the Fiorentina captain throws himself into two sliding challenges in quick succession, robbing Tevez and Llorente of the ball. The hosts' defence have been unforgiving and mean thus far, with neither of Juventus' strikeforce able to find a gap.
CUADRADO! What a ferocious strike! He sidesteps Asamoah, before cannoning a swerving effort towards the near post, with Buffon getting his hands behind it and hoping for the best! That was really travelling.
Yellow cards are totting up for either side, with a yellow card for Cuadrado meaning that the Colombia international will miss Viola's next Europa League game through suspension should they progress. The home side are looking the more dangerous at the minute!
Yellow Card Juan Cuadrado
Half chance for Tomovic! The Serbian is presented with the loose ball after a back post free-kick delivery is half cleared by Juve, but his first-time effort is well blocked. Both outfits continue to cancel each other out, this game has been balanced very finely.
Fiorentina are looking very dangerous on the counter, and given Juve's need to find at least one goal tonight, some exploitable gaps might just start to appear for the hosts as the game wears on.
BORJA! The Spaniard curls his free-kick effort towards goal, but Buffon claims with ease, letting Vidal off the hook. It's end-to-end stuff in the opening minutes of the second half, with Fiorentina looking to try and break with real pace whenever possible.
Yellow Card Arturo Vidal
The atmosphere is still excellent inside the stadium, with both sets of fans still believing that their beloved side have a good chance of progressing. Fiorentina break upfield, with Cuadrado weaving his way through several players at pace, before Vidal upends the Colombian winger on the edge of the penalty area. Yellow card for the Chilean.
First substitute of the game, and it's a forced one, as Ambrosini does replace Pizarro. The former Milan midfielder knows what games like these mean to the fans and he certainly brings the grit and determination required to marshal Juve's impressive midfield three.
Juventus start the second half in a flurry of action, with Tevez firing narrowly over the crossbar after haring into the penalty area. Montella is already warming up a substitute, with Ambrosini stripped and ready for action, as Pizarro looks to have picked up an innocuous injury.
We are back underway in the second half! Juventus need to rally quickly and find their all important away goal, while Viola will be happy to keep frustrating their adversaries. This tie can be settling by one moment of brilliance or a silly mistake, and both sides are capable of both!
Be sure to rejoin us for all of the second half action in ten minutes time, as Juve look to overcome a resilient Fiorentina outfit to navigate their way into the next round of the Europa League. The hosts are providing to be a stern test, having a few chances of their own, and this game could quite easily go either way.
If Juventus were to score, Fiorentina would need to find a home goal of their own, but as things stand Viola are progressing due to away goals. Plenty of time remains for Juve to get themselves back ahead in this tie, and with Tevez in determined form it looks likely that the Old Lady will be celebrating at least own goal this evening.
HALF TIME! Howard Webb signals the end of the first half, in a very interesting first 45 minutes in Stadio Artemio Franchi, with Fiorentina currently being the side set to go through to the next round of the Europa League. It's 0-0, but has been enthralling nevertheless, with the likes of Mario Gomez and Carlos Tevez going close at either end.
Poor cross from Caceres! The Uruguayan is able to pick up the loose ball at the back post, after a corner delivery was half-cleared by Fiorentina, was rushes his cross. Instead of picking out a black and white shirt, he rattles the ball into the side netting at the near post. Disappointing.
TEVEZ! The Argentine drives at goal after picking up a short pass from Pirlo, but fires his eventual effort straight at Neto! The Brazilian almost spills his save into the path of Llorente, but the 24-year-old is able to hare after the ball and claim it at the second attempt.
Five minutes until the break, and Montella will be pleased with how his side have fared in the opening 40 minutes of this game. They've carved out a few chances, frustrating the Bianconeri in the process, with the pressure being on Juve to find the all-important next goal.
ILICIC! WHAT A CHANCE FOR FIORENTINA! The Slovenian attacking midfielder drives into space on the edge of the penalty area after capitalising on a poor headed clearance from Chiellini, but rushes his effort, cannoning a 20-yard effort way over the bar! The home crowd show their frustration, they knew that was a vital chance.
Important intervention from Rodriguez, as the Fiorentina captain continues to excellently mark Llorente. The Argentine gets in front of the Spaniard to clear a dangerous cross yet again, before Tevez has half a chance. Vidal cuts a lofted pass back from the byeline, which Tevez meets on the volley! He can't keep it down however, and Neto watches it over his crossbar.
Gomez and Ilicic remain fairly anonymous for the home side, but the Slovenian swings the ball out to Vargas, who delivers. The cross is looping and aimed towards the far post, but no Viola players are able to get on the end of it, as the Old Lady clear once again.
Ten minutes until the break, and the longer Juventus go without an away goal, the more nerves will creep in. Borja Valero tries his luck from range yet again, but his shot is easily closed down. Fiorentina haven't had any clear cut chances, but for Gomez's early one-on-one, but have kept Juve pegged back for sustained periods.
A half hour has passed, and this all-Italian match-up has been as enthralling as we thought it would be! Less end-to-end and more tactically interesting, as these two excellent sides prod and probe at each other, with the impetus and momentum swinging back and forth.
Yellow Card Gonzalo Rodríguez
POGBA! The young midfielder breaks forward through the centre of midfield with space opening up ahead of him, and takes the invitation to shoot! His tame effort is easily claimed by Neto, however. Juventus try and break moments later, but Rodriguez hauls down Tevez, earning himself a yellow card.
TEVEZ! Good effort from the Argentine striker! He drives infield from the right hand side, before shifting the ball onto his left foot, but can't generate quite enough power to truly test Neto! The Brazilian keeper plays it safe, getting down early to smother the shot, and Juve are edging that little bit closer to finding the vital goal they desperately need.
PIZARRO! WHAT AN EFFORT! A long throw-in is headed clear by Chiellini, before the Chilean midfielder tries his luck on the volley! It's well hit, arrowing narrowly wide of the bottom corner with Buffon beaten! Half of the stadium was on its feet there, they thought it was in!
Fiorentina move the ball brilliantly from side to side, but are struggling to find any kind of penetration at the bottom. Juve are sitting quite deep, which doesn't allow for Gomez to find much space in behind, but Viola are happy to retain possession and settle themselves down once again.
FANTASTIC SAVE! Well, it wouldn't have counted, but an excellent stop from Neto! Isla picks out Pogba unmarked at the back post, and the Frenchman rises well to divert the ball towards the bottom right corner, but the Brazilian goalkeeper gets smartly down to his immediate left to parry the header clear. The linesman's flag was raised for offside anyway, but Neto's exploits must be applauded regardless.
Half chance for Pogba! The young Frenchman does excellently to bring the ball down on his chest following a lofted pass from Bonucci, but Rodriguez gets across well to pressure the Juve midfielder. From a tight angle, Pogba can only hook the ball wildly wide of the target.
Juventus are starting to click into gear after a nervy opening, and the Fiorentina fans are that little bit more restless. The high pressing which caused so many early problems is proving unsustainable, and the momentum and possession have swung into the Old Lady's favour.
TEVEZ! Excellent driving run from the former Manchester City striker! The Argentine spins off his man well, before bursting into the penalty area and looking to pull the trigger. Savic does well to recover and rob his former teammate of the ball.
Despite Fiorentina hunting down the Bianconeri excellently in their own half, Juve are stubbornly continuing to marshal their own penalty area and offer resilience against a good Viola start. Rodriguez does just enough to divert an excellent cross away from Llorente after a pacey break upfield from the visitors.
Fiorentina continue to press high up the field, pressing into the space in between Juve's defence and attack, making it difficult for the away side to break upfield without playing a risky pass. Valero picks up possession on the edge of the penalty area, but Bonucci is on hand to make a block.
Rodriguez gets across well to prevent a driving run from Llorente, with the Viola captain sliding in to clear the danger. He catches a bit of the Spaniard in the process, but the lanky Juventus forward isn't one to stay down, getting back to his feet gingerly and playing on within moments.
GOMEZ! The former Bayern man isn't afraid to shoot once again, but isn't permitted enough time to build the power required to test Buffon. He drags the ball wide of the target, bobbling out of play for a goal kick. Early signs are suggesting that Fiorentina are looking in good shape to push Juventus all the way tonight.
Neither goalkeeper has been tested yet, though Buffon has looked uncertain on one or two occasions due to testing balls whipped into dangerous areas. Isla isn't justifying his selection quite yet, the Chile international has given the ball away twice already.
After a shaky start, Conte can begin to look a little more comfortable, as his side timidly start to hold onto possession and break upfield. The boos are deafening from the home fans whenever the visiting outfit are holding onto the ball, and we have an electric atmosphere on our hands.
LLORENTE! Tevez drives down the right channel, before setting the ball back to the supporting Isla. The Chilean whips in a first-time cross in search of Llorente, but the former Bilbao man can only divert the ball five yards wide of the near post.
Good defensive header from Llorente! The physically imposing striker does well to nod Fiorentina's first corner away from the near post, and Juve continue to struggle. It's been all Viola in the opening stages, with Montella's side earning a couple of corners and pressing high upfield.
The opening five minutes have looked very positive for the hosts, with Juventus unable to get out of their half. Viola's formation is set up to have plenty of bodies able to support and overlap when they're in possession, so Fiorentina could find themselves able to overwhelm the Bianconeri. Chiellini races across to block Gomez's cross, as the German striker attempts to pick out Ilicic.
The hosts look to be playing a flat back four, with Cuadrado and Vargas sitting in at full back. This allows for them to push up and support, with the likes of Pizarro and Valero able to drop back and sit as a third centre-back if required. Fiorentina break again, with Cuadrado sliding a wonderful ball across the six yard box, but nobody can get on the end of it with Buffon scrambling!
GOMEZ! Ilicic has the first chance of the game, after having the ball set back to him by Borja Valero, but the Slovenian can only drag his effort wide of the target. The Germany international then goes incredibly close, outpacing Bonucci before firing inches wide of the far post!
Montella's formation is somewhat hard to predict, with the former Roma striker opting to stretch the play tonight, with Cuadrado and Vargas on the flanks. As always, Viola's personnel can morph and mould into different formations when in and out of possession, but it looks as though the home side are going for the early goal tonight.
We are underway in the first half! Plenty of action awaits us, with Fiorentina in their customary purple strip, with Juventus in the kit which earns them the nickname of Bianconeri! The visiting ultras aren't here in particular force, due to a boycott given restrictions on their away travels, but the atmosphere is excellent regardless! The noise is booming around Stadio Artemio Franchi, and we should be in for an excellent spectacle!
Ten minutes until kick-off, as we await the most eagerly anticipated fixture in this round of the Europa League. Fiorentina have the slim advantage, but an early goal from Juventus could turn the entire tie on its head in an instant. One thing can be certain, this game will be packed full of action and drama, so be sure to stick around and enjoy all of it with us.
Earlier this month, the Bianconeri came off the better of the two sides in a 1-0 victory in Serie A, a result which would see the away side progress this evening. The omens don't look too good for Juve, however, as 24 of the last 29 games in UEFA competition between Italian teams have resulted in a home victory. In fact, today's visitors haven't managed to beat a team who share the same country as them in five away outings in European competition.
Juventus substitutes: Storari, Osvaldo, Padoin, Lichtsteiner, Vucinic, Mattiello, Romagna.
Juventus starting line-up: Buffon; Caceres, Bonucci, Chiellini; Isla, Vidal, Pirlo, Pogba, Asamoah; Llorente, Tevez.
Fiorentina substitutes: Roncaglia, Bakic, Joaquin, Matri, Ambrosini, Pasqual, Rosati.
Fiorentina starting line-up: Neto; Savic, Rodriguez, Tomovic; Vargas, Borja Valero, Pizarro, Aquilani, Cuadrado; Ilicic; Gomez.
TEAM NEWS: Carlos Tevez returns to Juve's strikeforce, which sees Dani Osvaldo dropped to the bench despite netting two disallowed offside goals against Genoa. Andrea Barzagli, who pulled up in the warm-up in the same game, is still missing with Martin Caceres making up the numbers in Conte's back three. Mauricio Isla steps in at right-wing back for Stephan Lichtsteiner, with the Chile international being given the chance to freshen up the Old Lady's flank.
TEAM NEWS: The hosts opt to start Mario Gomez, following his important finish in the first leg, with the former Bayern striker leading the line on his own with Josip Ilicic in close support. Facundo Roncaglia takes a seat on the bench, as Viola select a back three of Savic, Rodriguez and Tomovic, while there's no place in the squad for injured Matias Fernandez. Borja Valero may be suspended in Serie A, but is elegible for tonight's Europa League match, handing Fiorentina a boost in midfield.
The first leg saw Arturo Vidal put tonight's visitors ahead on merely three minutes, before failing to double the Old Lady's advantage soon after with a header that rattled Neto's crossbar. Germany international Mario Gomez came off the bench to round Buffon with an excellent first touch before finishing from an acute angle, allowing Montella's men to leave Turin with an extremely credible draw. The last fixture saw plenty of action and drama, and we can be sure of more of the same tonight, as Juventus need an away result to progress.
I'm Simon Harrison, and what a treat we have for you tonight from Florence, as two sides who are good enough for the Champions League face each other in the Europa League. Both sides have a realistic chance of going a fair distance in this competition, with Juventus having that added incentive that the final will be played in their own stadium. After an even first leg, and with a late Andrea Pirlo free-kick salvaging three points against Genoa, Fiorentina will fancy their chances this evening.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of one of the tastiest matches that tonight's Europa League action has to offer. Juventus travel to face Fiorentina in the wake of a 1-1 draw in Turin, leaving Antonio Conte's men a lot to do if they want to turn this tie around. Mario Gomez grabbed the important equaliser last week, and starts up top for Viola, but the Oldy Lady enter Stadio Artemio Franchi with an extremely strong starting line-up.
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