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Goal Star Strikers
August 16, 2014
• Stadion Narodowy, Warszawa
Referee: D. Stefanski
Cristiano Ronaldo 4'
M. Gómez 27'
Marcos Alonso 69'
I am Alex Moretto and I would like to thank you all for joining me this evening for what proved to be an entertaining contest. Good bye!
Next up for Real Madrid is Atletico on Tuesday, while Fiorentina head to the Italian capital to take on Roma on Saturday.
FULL-TIME: REAL MADRID 1-2 FIORENTINA. An early Cristiano Ronaldo goal was not enough to deter the Italian side who claw their way back for a well-deserved victory thanks to goals from Mario Gomez and Marcos Alonso.
90' + 5'
Final chance for Real Madrid. Bernardeschi commits a foul near the sidelines giving Los Blancos a free kick from about 40 yards out. Kroos delivers, but it is headed clear and the final whistle blows!
90' + 4'
Fiorentina win back possession and break out of there end. Ilicic wins a free kick in the Real Madrid half as these final precious seconds wind off the clock.
90' + 3'
Real Madrid win a free kick along the left as Savic earns the first yellow card of the match. The ball is delivered in to Ramos, but his header is blocked and subsequently cleared.
90' + 2'
Yellow Card Stefan Savic
90' + 2'
Nearly a third for Fiorentina! They break on a counter and a few quick passes gives Ilicic the ball inside the area. He cuts inside a defender, but fires wide at the near post by the slightest of margins.
This should be the final substitution as captain Borja Valero makes way to a loud applause from the Fiorentina fans. Meanwhile, the assistant referee indicates there will be five minutes added on.
Fiorentina continue to press, up a goal late. They win a corner that Real Madrid struggle to deal with. Finally they break, but Fiorentina win it back and it leads to yet another corner kick. Minutes away from full-time now, barring any added time.
Another lengthy delay as Fiorentina try and match Real Madrid substitution for substitution.
STAT ATTACK: Fiorentina are looking for their fifth win from six matches this preseason.
HOW DID HE MISS FROM THERE?! Di Maria is in alone, with support, but opts to play it himself. Neto, rather indecisively, comes off his line but does not attack the forward, who goes for the chip. It has the perfect height on it, but falls a good two or three feet wide of the net.
Real Madrid struggling in attack. The lengthy stoppage to get these substitutes in seems to have taken the spark out of the match. Meanwhile, Josip Ilicic is sent in on a breakaway but it is rightly blown dead on an offside.
Finally the corner is taken and now we have another delay as Coentrao is down claiming he took an elbow to the face. There did not appear to be much in the play, and Coentrao does not get the card he was hoping for.
More substitutions from Real Madrid, as Fiorentina win another corner, but must wait to take it. Three youngsters coming on for Los Blancos in Alvaro Medran, Burgui and Lucas Vazquez. Meanwhile, Fiorentina make two more changes of their own bringing on Bernardeschi and Wolski. A lengthy stoppage as these changes are made, taking up over three minutes.
Fiorentina full of confidence as they continue to up the pressure following their second goal. In an attempt to shore things up at the back, Ancelotti brings on Sergio Ramos in place of Raphael Varane who has been less than his best today.
ABSOLUTELY WORLD CLASS STOP FROM KEYLOR NAVAS! Fiorentina win a corner. It is cleared, but only as far as Vargas, who hits a shot first time, destined for the bottom corner. Navas incredibly dives to his left and gets a strong, outstretched arm down to keep it out, and then gets to his feet quickly to collect the rebound. Fantastic stuff from the debut keeper.
Goal Marcos Alonso
A lovely individual effort from the left-back as he beats two defenders down low with a clever bit of skill, cuts into the centre, and places his right footed shot past an outstretched Navas.
MARCOS ALONSO GIVES FIORENTINA THE LEAD!
CLOSE FOR REAL MADRID! Finally a chance and it nearly results in a go ahead goal. Well worked by Madrid. Di Maria to Kroos, to Benzema, to Kroos, to Illarramendi, but his cutback is cleared before it can reach Benzema.
Fiorentina continue to slow the match to a snail's pace. Montella gets up and readies his substitutes. It looks as if the Italian outfit decided they have seen enough and want to get through the last 25 minutes without injuries.
We have hit a stand still in Poland and the fans are getting restless. They have been spoiled in the first hour, but the two sides almost look tired. Fiorentina are doing a lot of passing amongst their back four, much to the dismay of the supporters in attendance.
STAT ATTACK: Real Madrid have lost two of their last three friendlies against Italian opposition.
Benzema certainly looks like scoring since coming on. He makes a nice run into the area and shows some nifty footwork to find space for a shot, but just misses the top corner.
Vargas just needed a touch on that! Valero sends in a cross that Babacar flicks off Varane and towards the far post where Vargas is waiting. He can not react quickly enough, however, and it goes behind for a corner.
Look at the hustle from Gomez! It may just be a friendly, but do not tell these players that. Babacar sends a long ball forward for the striker. Coentrao was always getting there first, but Gomez tracks it down and nearly wins it back near the corner flag. Nervy moments for the left-back.
Lovely move from Real Madrid but they have to settle for a corner. Benzema dummies a pass to elude a defender, then picks up the ball and charges towards the byline. He cuts it back, but none of his teammates can meet it. Kroos eventually picks it up and spots Illarramendi who sees his cross blocked and sent behind.
AND BENZEMA SCORES... but again it does not count. A deflected pass falls kindly into the path of the the striker, and Neto can not keep his shot out, but Benzema received the ball in an offside position.
Much slower start to the second half than the first. Madrid's new players all looking to get a touch of the ball before they pick up the pace. Fiorentina content to sit back and let them pass it around early on here.
Real Madrid kick-off as we get back underway in Warsaw. Plenty of changes from Ancelotti as Daniel Carvajal, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Fabio Coentrao come on in place of James Rodriguez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Marcelo.
The players make their way back out as we get set to start the second half
It will be interesting to see what changes are made from both camps at the break and into the second half. Will Di Maria and Khedira play a full 90 minutes with the risk of picking up and injury and not being able to sell? Fiorentina took a cautious approach with Juan Cuadrado, leaving him out of the team, heightening speculation that he could be on his way out before the end of the summer.
HALF-TIME: REAL MADRID 1-1 FIORENTINA. With nothing at stake, we have been gifted with a wide open first half. The teams are pushing the pace and looking for goals. At the back, there have been a few careless errors from both sides, but it has made for some exciting, attack-minded football. Real Madrid had the bulk of possession, but there were plenty of chances at both ends.
No stoppage time. In fact, the referee blows the whistle a few second before the allotted 45 minutes, and we head to the break level.
Appeals for a penalty not given! Aquilani wreaking havoc along the right. Again he gets into a dangerous position, and his cross appears to have struck the arm of a defender. He shouts for a penalty but the referee is having none of it.
ALMOST AN OWN GOAL FOR NACHO! Tomovic gets up from his right-back position and sends in a dangerous cross. Nacho tries to clear, but ends up re-directing the ball towards goal, and thankfully for his sake, into the side netting.
Fiorentina playing with fire at the back. They are defending well, but on the ball it has been a whole other story. Poor clearances and misguided passes have been the story for the two centre-backs thus far.
Real Madrid again starting to take this match over, as they have done periodically throughout the first half. Since the Gomez goal, the La Liga outfit have enjoyed the bulk of possession, with most of it coming in the attacking half. Still nothing to show for it, however.
GOAL FOR DI MARIA....... but he's offside. A poor clearance falls for Khedira. The midfielder looks to hit it with his second touch, but his first runs too far and he ends up playing through Di Maria who was in an offside position.
He does not miss those often! Marcelo picks out Ronaldo in the area. He takes the pass in stride and tries a half volley from close range, but blasts it over the bar. Chances starting up again as the pace begins to pick up.
Mishit by Khedira! Glorious chance to retake the lead goes begging. Ronaldo's cross in for James is defended well, but Savic fails to clear convincingly. It falls to Khedira who has a go from the top of the box, but fires well wide of the target.
The Gomez goal, albeit the cross came in from a different location, had an eerily similar feel to the one Hummels scored against France in the World Cup. Varane with all sorts of trouble marking yet another big German body here.
Fiorentina come right back at Real Madrid now, this time through Aquilani, who sees his shot sail just wide at the far post. The Italians pressing with purpose now.
Assist Alberto Aquilani
Goal M. Gómez
Fiorentina push forward in what looks like a harmless looking attack. Aquilani finds space on the right, however, and sends a picture perfect cross in for Mario Gomez, who shields off Varane and dives to head past a helpless Keylor Navas. There was no keeping that out.
GOOOOOAL MARIO GOMEZ!
The match has hit a bit of a cagey period. The teams exchange half chances, but seem unable, or unwilling, to take the space they are being given.
STAT ATTACK: The last time Mario Gomez faced off against Real Madrid was in April of 2012 with Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The striker scored the winning goal in the 90th minute at the Allianz Arena and added an assist in the return leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Babacar has been a real bright spot for Fiorentina early on. He is showing a great ability to hold up the ball, using his big frame to shield off defenders. Fiorentina do not seem eager to commit men forward, however, so support has been lacking for the striker.
INCHES WIDE FROM MARIO GOMEZ! The striker takes the ball from Babacar atop the box, turns and fires just wide of the near post. He got the shot off so quickly that it did not look like Navas would have gotten there had the shot been on target.
Real Madrid are dominating the midfield battle through the first quarter of an hour. Fiorentina are struggling to find time on the ball, but their back line is keeping shape well and making it difficult for Los Blancos to break them down.
The pace has subdued a bit now as we hit a calm period in the match. Real Madrid keeping possession well, but do not look as eager to push forward as they did in the opening minutes. Fiorentina win the ball back on two separate occasions but give it up almost instantly. Their passing at the back has been nothing short of sloppy.
Real Madrid continue to move forward with intent. Marcelo makes a nice run, taking on two Fiorentina defenders. He works a give and go with James, but can not properly handle the return pass as the attack fizzles out.
STAT ATTACK: Fiorentina have twice faced Spanish opposition this preseason, winning both, 2-1 over Real Betis and 2-0 against Malaga
Nearly an equalizer from Fiorentina! There's an incredible pace to this match early on. Babacar uses his height and athleticism to get on the end of a Vargas cross, but sends his header just over the bar.
Real Madrid back at it again! Two fine stops by Neto keeps this at 1-0. First Di Maria cuts in from the right and has a go with his left foot. Neto dives across to fist away the effort. Ronaldo collects the rebound and has a shot of his own, but again the keeper is up to the task.
Assist Ángel Di María
Goal C. Ronaldo
A lightning quick counter from Real Madrid produces the first goal of the match! Cristiano Ronaldo starts out with the ball, running at the defence. He sends a long through ball to Di Maria, who returns the favour moments later as the Portuguese forward slots home into an empty net. A great build-up leads to a simple finish.
Navas makes his first save for Real Madrid! Lively start from Fiorentina who seem to be working everything through Borja Valero early on. He passes off for Babacar who tries to slot in at the near post but Navas is up to the task.
Fiorentina kick-off and we are underway in Poland! The Italians are wearing their all purple kits, with Real Madrid in all white. Time to sit back and enjoy what promises to be a cracking match!
The players make their way out onto the pitch as the Real Madrid faithful unveil a giant banner to remember club legend Alfredo Di Stefano who passed away last month.
Coach Vincenzo Montella has employed just three changes to the team that beat Malaga 2-0 in Spain less than a week ago. Khouma Babacar, perhaps rewarded for his goal against Betis, replaces Giuseppe Rossi up top, while Nenad Tomovic and Juan Vargas replace Josip Ilicic and Facundo Roncaglia.
FIORENTINA XI (4-3-3): Neto; Tomovic, G. Rodriguez, Savic, Alonso; Pizarro, Valero, Aquilani; Vargas, Gomez, Babacar.
Where to begin? Keylor Navas makes his Real Madrid debut, while, amid heavy transfer speculation, Angel Di Mari and Sami Khedira have been named to the starting XI. Could this be their last match is the Real Madrid uniform? Xabi Alonso spearheads a physical three man midfield, while James Rodriguez starts up top, in what very likely could be a false nine employed by Carlo Ancelotti.
REAL MADRID SUBS: Casillas, Pacheco, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao, Kroos, Benzema, Bale, Carvajal, Burgui, Lucas, Medran.
REAL MADRID XI (4-3-3): Navas; Arbeloa, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Khedira, Illarramendi, Xabi Alonso; Di Maria, James Rodriguez, Ronaldo.
The starting line-ups have been announced, so without further ado, let us have a look at the teams set to face off today:
Fiorentina have enjoyed a successful preseason under coach Vincenzo Montella, but face their toughest task yet against the defending Uefa Champions League winners. It will be a good test for La Viola who kick-off their season with a daunting match against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico next weekend.
Real Madrid enter the match fresh off their Uefa Super Cup win over Sevilla, courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo brace. Coach Carlo Ancelotti may take a more conservative approach with his team today as Los Blancos face their inner-city rivals Atletico twice this upcoming week in the Super Copa.
Good evening football fans around the world and welcome to the Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, where Real Madrid and Fiorentina face off in their final preseason match in preparation for the new season. I am Alex Moretto and I will be taking you through the match LIVE as it happens!
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