An early Cavani goal was cancelled out by D'Agostino in the second-half...
Fiorentina were held to a 1-1 draw by fellow Champions League hopefuls Napoli in their opening game of the new Serie A season at the Stadio Artemio Franchi in Florence on Sunday evening.
Edinson Cavani scored a controversial goal very early in the first-half but five minutes into the second session Gaetano D'Agostino restored parity. Both sides then had a man sent off as Juan Manuel Vargas was given his marching orders in the 67th minute and seven minutes later Napoli's Manuele Blasi was forced to go for an early shower.
The first chance of the game fell to Napoli as early as the fifth minute when Cavani placed the ball for Walter Gargano but the latter’s shot went wide.
However, a couple of minutes later the Azzurri did find the Fiorentina net. Andrea Dossena crafted a cross from the left that Cavani struck the crossbar with and, although Sebastien Frey claimed the ball, the officials adjudged that it had cross the line.
Moments later the home side could have equalised when Gaetano D’Agostino invented a brilliant ball for Marco Marchionni but Paolo Cannavaro made a good challenge.
Alberto Gilardino came close to restoring parity for the Viola on 20 minutes but Morgan De Sanctis was aware between the Napoli sticks. Three minutes later Juan Manuel Vargas was denied by Napoli goalkeeper.
Both sides continued to test each other but the next proper chance did not come until the 33rd minute when Dossena, Cavani and Marek Hamsik combined; however, the Slovakian couldn’t keep his final shot on target.
Fiorentina could have forced Napoli to pay for that miss moments later but De Sanctis once again intervened to cut out a D’Agostino ball meant for Marchionni at the far post.
On the stroke of half-time it was Frey’s turn to be the hero as he brilliantly kept out Hamsik to keep it 1-0 to Napoli at the break.
Five minutes into the second-half Fiorentina equalised as Gilardino served a brilliant assist for D’Agostino, whose shot went past De Sanctis into the lower right corner of the Napoli net.
On the hour mark it could have been 2-0 to the Viola had Cristiano Zanetti been more alert. Three minutes later Gilardinho was sent through on goal by Riccardo Montolivo but he couldn’t get past the Napoli goalkeeper in the one-on-one situation.
However, things took a turn for the worse for the Florence-based side as Vargas was sent off in the 67th minute. Hugo Campagnaro and he collided with each other on the left wing and as the former collapsed with his hand clutched to his face in the subsequent confrontation, Vargas was show a direct red card.
But ten minutes later Manuele Blasi was show his second yellow card for a confrontation with Marchionni, meaning it was 10 against 10.
A minute later Montolivo took an attempt on the Napoli goal but De Sanctis made a good diving save.
It eventually finished 1-1 between the two sides in Florence, but neither side will be exceptionally pleased with the outcome.