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February 17, 2013
• Stadio Artemio Franchi, Firenze
Referee: N. Rizzoli
• Attendance: 23000
A. Ljajić 13', 65'
S. Jovetić 33', 55'
A. Cassano 87'
Well that's it from the Artemio Franchi this evening. What an incredible performance we've seen from Fiorentina. The Nerazzurri may have been poor but La Viola were simply brilliant. Stay tuned to Goal.com for reports, reactions and ratings from tonight's match but from me, Harry Slavin, thank you all for joining me and until next time, arrivederci!
That result means Vicenzo Montella's side sit just one point behind Inter now and sees them throw their hat into the ring as genuine Champions League spot challengers. Inter have a heap of problems to sort out before they take on AC next week.
FT FIORENTINA 4-1 INTER. Hands up who saw this result at kick off? Inter have been steamrollered tonight by a rampant Fiorentina side. Cassano's late consolation was all the visitors could muster as doubles from Jovetic and Ljajic secure a memorable victory for La Viola.
Just two minutes of added on time at the Artemio Franchi.
Jovetic may be off the field but Adem Ljajic is still looking to take home the match ball. He goes close with a free-kick that curls just wide of Handanovic's goal.
Goal Antonio Cassano
GOOALLLL!! CASSANO PULLS ONE BACK!! He's been poor but this is a touch of class from Inter's front man. He unleashes a fierce long drive from 25-yards out and it clips the inside of the post before nestling in the net. Too little too late though.
It's almost five as El Hamdaoui tires to get in on the act. He's played through by Aquilani but his toe poke goalwards is blocked by the foot of Handanovic.
Final replacement for the hosts as Cuadrado comes off for Llama. Good shift from the Colombian.
I genuinely think Andrea Stramaccioni would have been better off playing with 10-men this evening and leaving out Andrea Ranocchia all together. Schelotto gets down the right flank and swings in a ball for Cassano but the centre back has other ideas and comes bursting into to shin the ball away from his striker as he tries to control it. Cassano doesn't even look at him.
10 minutes to go now and Fiorentina have no problem with keeping possession. Inter don't even look like they want it back. I can see why. They've done nothing with it all night.
Most of the questions before this game would have revolved around Inter's hopes of claiming a Champions League berth come the end of the season. On today's evidence though, it's hard to say what could stop Fiorentina forcing themselves into the running. They have produced a devastating display this evening.
Final substitution for the visitors as Palacio makes way for Ezequiel Schelotto. The former Genoa man hasn't had a sniff tonight.
Mounir El Hamdaoui
Stevan Jovetic's wont be getting his hat-trick tonight. The striker leaves the field stuck with a brace as he is replaced by Mounir El Hamdaoui.
Yellow Card Stefan Savic
Another player goes into the book, this time it's Stefan Savic after a strong challenge on Palacio.
Mohamed Lamine Sissoko
Fiorentina make their first substitution of the night as Mohamed Sissoko comes on to replace David Pizarro. Fantastic display from the Chilean tonight against his former employers.
Yellow Card Á. Pereira
This isn't exactly great preparation for Inter's Milan derby next week and it gets worse as Alvaro Pereira picks up a booking meaning he'll be suspended for the clash. It doesn't rain but it pours for Stramaccioni at the moment.
Assist Borja Valero
Goal Adem Ljajic
GOOOAAALLLL!!!! LJAJIC BAGS HIS SECOND!!!! Borja Valero gets free down the left and plays a pass into the feet of an unmarked Ljajic who curls home form the edge of the box. The home side are definitely enjoying themselves.
Andrea Stramaccioni must be wondering what he can do to turn around his side's fortunes. They have been utterly lifeless tonight.
Inter foray forward in a rare moment of attacking intent but a deep cross is wasted by Nagatomo who blazes high and wide from an acute angle.
Yellow Card Juan Jesus
Inter are in danger of self-imploding now. Juan Jesus is lucky to stay on the field after leading with the elbow on Jovetic. It almost boils over as a stramash of players gather around the incident but it's just a booking for the Brazilian in the end.
Assist Alberto Aquilani
Yellow Card Fredy Guarín
Fredy Guarin's last action is to get himself cautioned as he is replaced just after picking up a yellow card. Inter need to be careful they don't lose their heads here.
Goal Stevan Jovetic
GOOOAALLL!!!! THREE AND EASY FOR LA VIOLA!!! It's a second for Jovetic and you feel the hosts are home and dry now. Inter cannot clear Pizarro's through ball properly and it drops at the feet of Aquilani, who backheels the ball into the path of Jovetic who makes no mistake from inside the area.
Borja Valero indulges in a spot of histrionics as he goes down after a clash with Alvarez. He claims that he's been clobbered in the mouth. Replays would suggest otherwise.
It doesn't take long for the hosts to respond with an opportunity of their own though. Cuadrado ghosts in from right and his shot is deflected just wide. The home side are not done here.
Little chink of light for the Nerazzurri as they manage to mount their first attack of the half within five minutes. Fredy Guarin takes a shot from the edge of the area but it's blocked by Savic and Viviano collects the looping ball.
Yellow Card Andrea Ranocchia
Andrea Ranocchia had a first half to forget and his second half hasn't started much better. The Inter defender is booked for a foul on Jovetic.
Substitution at the break from Inter which is hardly surprising. Kovacic is the man to make way and Ricky Alvarez is on to give Inter a more attacking edge. They need it.
The teams are back out and Inter are about to start the second half.
Those shooting stats from the first half don't make pretty reading for Inter fans. Montella's men were able to get away 16 shots in that first half. the Nerazzurri only managed two. Are there any signs of promise for the visitors? Ahead of the second half?
Here's a little fact for you. Inter haven't lost to La Viola in any competition since February 2006. They have a huge job on their hands to maintain that extraordinary record in the second half. Can Stramaccioni galvanize his side in any way?
Two goals for Vincenzo Montella's men in the opening half and it could so easily have been more. I highly recommend you seek out Jovetic's effort at any cost. Absolute pearler.
HALFTIME FIORENTINA 2-0 INTER. No added time and that brings an incredible first half to an end. Fiorentina's performance has been sensational with Aquilani. Valero and Pizarro dominating the midfield. Inter look completely lost. A big halftime team talk needed from Stramaccioni.
Borja Valero is in the Inter box once more. This time he squares, trying to find Adem Ljajic, but he can't connect properly with his cheeky attempt at a backheel.
Cassano tries to burst into the Fiorentina box but, unlike his defensive teammates, the host's defence stand strong and stay tight to the forward. Such a contrast between both sides this half.
Valero had so much time on the edge of the area there he could have sat on the ball, made himself a cup of tea and still would have had time to hit the shot. As it happens his effort is straight at Handanovic. Woeful defending from Inter yet again.
Andrea Ranocchia hasn't covered himself in glory in this opening 40 minutes and he wont have helped his causes here either. He attempts an effort from miles out that goes even further over the crossbar. There doesn't seem to be any shape to the visitors at the moment. A truly clueless opening period from Stramaccioni's men.
Yellow Card David Pizarro
This is verging on bullying now. If this was a boxing match Inter would probably be counted out. This time it's Aquilani who has the chance to let fly from the edge of the area. Handanovic cannot collect it first time but reacts quickly enough to beat Valero to the loose ball.
Fiorentina are threatening still. The ball finds Valero at the back post. This time he is onside but he's once again denied by the hands of Handanovic.
Assist Alberto Aquilani
Goal Stevan Jovetic
GOOOAALLLL!!!! WHAT A STRIKE FROM JOVETIC!! That is some hit. Fiorentina's top scorer picks up the ball from Aquilani on the edge of the area and turns before hitting an unstoppable effort into the top corner. 10th goal of the season for Jovetic. Long way back for Inter.
Guarin gets involved in a little tussle with Cuardrado and the home fans want action. The referee is soon across to calm things down though and no bookings are shown.
Still Inter look vulnerable at the back. Adem Ljajic already has one goal to his name and threatens another as he waltzes through the Nerazzurri back line before scuffing his shot. Easy for Handanovic to deal with but it could have been a lot more dangerous.
Good effort from Zdravko Kuzmanovic as he gets to Palacio's knock down but his half-volley flies just wide of Emiliano Viviano's upright.
Yellow Card Manuel Pasqual
First booking of the evening goes to Fiorentina's Manuel Pasqual as he holds back Fredy Guarin as Inter try to break. Not the smartst of bookings to pick up.
Inter string together a few passes in the Fiorentina half for the first time but their build up is too slow and Nagatomo is closed down sharply before he can even think about getting a cross in. Moments later he does but it's cleared by Tomovic.
Some of you have been getting in touch via twitter, including Ahmed Yasir who is hoping for an Inter win tonight. Unfortunately for Inter fans they have yet to get going this evening. The hosts have a free kick in a dangerous position but it's eventually put behind for a goal kick.
Pasqual now lines up a shot from way out but it sails wide of Handanovic's upright. He must be brimming with confidence if he's winding up from that range.
Manuel Pasqual, who was responsible for the cross that put Fiorentina ahead, gets free down the left again and this time fires it low across the box. It's cleared this time, but there is only so much this Inter defence can take, you have to feel.
Borja Valero tries to run beyond the defence again but once again the midfielder is flagged for offside. Far too much room being afforded to La Viola at the moment.
It's almost two!! Adem Ljajic is allowed time and space to drive into the area and he has all the time in the world to pick out Stevan Jovetic who is only denied by a decent stop from Handanovic. Inter are at sixes and sevens. Stramaccioni may have to act.
Inter try and mount an immediate response as Fiorentina are slow to react to a short free-kick, but Cassano's cut-back cannot find a teammate and it's cleared behind for a corner.
Assist Stevan Jovetic
Goal Adem Ljajic
GOOALLLL!!!!! LJAJIC PUTS LA VIOLA AHEAD!!! Inter are split open all too easily and it's another cross that has undone them. This time Jovetic gets up to flick it on to the back post where Adem Ljajic is on hand to nod past Handanovic. It has been coming.
Really lively start from Vincenzo Montella's side here and it's the former Liverpool man Alberto Aquilani who is pulling all the strings. He could have a big say on the outcome of this match if he continues as he's started.
Inter are slow to get forward when they do get on the ball and the Viola are picking off their passes in the final third a bit too easily at the moment. Meanwhile at the other end the visitors are struggling to cope with their opponents direct approach.
Andrea Stramaccioni has abandoned the tactic of wingbacks for this fixture to help sure up his defence but it doesn't appear to have worked too well so far. It's all Fiorentina.
Another great move from the hosts sees Borja Valero played through and test Handanovic once more. He's flagged for offside but the Inter keeper wasn't to know. Good stop.
Great start from Fiorentina as they start by bombarding the left-hand side. It almost pays instant dividends as Stevan Jovetic gets in behind Andrea Ranocchia but Samir Handanovic is on hand to produce a great save.
Fiorentina kick us off. They start the game in their traditional purple. Inter have opted for their white away strip. Probably just as well.
It's a chilly night in Florence with the majority of players sporting gloves. The cold obviously doesn't affect referees though as Nicola Rizzoli conducts the coin toss in florescent short-sleeved attire.
The teams are finally led out onto the pitch at the Artemio Franchi. Moments away from kick off now.
As always, all comments and predictions are welcome. You can get in touch by using the chat box in the match centre, all alternatively by tweeting in to @harryslavin.
So Andrea Stramaccioni lost the services of Diego Milito for the season during their Europa League tie against Cluj midweek. That puts even more pressure on the shoulders of Rodrigo Palacio and Antonio Cassano in Inter's quest for goals. Can the pair deliver tonight?
INTER (4-4-2) Handanovic; Zanetti, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Nagatomo; Kuzmanovic, Cambiasso, Kovacic; Guarin; Cassano, Palacio.
FIORENTINA (3-5-2) Viviano; Tomovic,Gonzalo, Savic; Cuadrado, Aquilani, Pizarro, Borja Valero, Pasqual; Ljajic, Jovetic.
Not long until the teams emerge in Florence so let's get some team news ahead of kick off then shall we?
Andrea Stramaccioni's men have lost five of their last six on the road in Serie A. Couple that with the Viola's fine home record this season and tonight looks a pretty stern test for the Nerazzurri.
Inter and Fiorentina currently sit side-by-side in the league, with the visitors tonight currently enjoying a four point advantage over their opponents. They'll have to turn around their dismal away form if they want to keep that margin and chase down the Champions League positions.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's coverage from Stadio Artemio Franchi of Inter's Serie A clash with Fiorentina. I'm Harry Slavin and I will be here to take you through all tonight's action.
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