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Fiorentina v Juventus Live Commentary, 14/09/19

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Stadio Artemio Franchi


And that wraps up our coverage. We hope you enjoyed our commentary, and until next time, goodbye!
Both sides resume their domestic affairs next weekend, with Fiorentina travelling to Atalanta next Sunday while Juve host promoted Verona the day prior. However, the Old Lady have a European pit-stop to contend with beforehand as they kick-off their Champions League campaign at Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in a mouthwatering first group game on Wednesday.
While this match was not a patch on the entertaining goal-fests of seasons past, it remained an intriguing contest as Fiorentina managed to pull off their best performance of the season so far despite stretching their winless league run to 17 games. Montella will be very pleased at his enterprising side’s efforts, particularly in the final third as their relentless pressing caused many a headache for the Bianconeri backline. Sarri and his players will leave Florence disappointed at not being able to get out of first gear, rarely troubling the hosts from the first whistle up until the last, with Ronaldo enduring a rare off-day in front of goal. The goalless stalemate does bring the Old Lady up to top spot, albeit only by a point as Inter and Torino each have a game in hand. Meanwhile, the Viola remain in 16th, but will be buoyed at not losing a third match on the bounce following a display that showed marked signs of improvement. 
Yellow Card
90' + 3' In a strange turn of events, Montella is booked by the referee for dissent after disagreeing with Irrati’s decision to not let play continue following a Juve foul!
90' + 1' Cuadrado sprints towards the Viola half to try and start another Juve break and lays it off to Bernardeschi before being brought down by Badelj, and the Italy midfielder swivels before taking a weak shot at Dragowski.
90' There will be four minutes of added time to be played.
S. Żurkowski
G. Castrovilli
89' Castrovilli comes off to a standing ovation as Zurkowski replaces him for the game’s final few minutes.
88' Dragowski had to rush out of his area there following a moment of carelessness from Ceccherini, whose lazy backward pass was nearly latched on to by Ronaldo only for the hosts’ keeper to sweep the ball away from danger!
87' Fiorentina have lost their last two home encounters against Juventus in the top-flight; only once previously have they lost three consecutive home matches against the Bianconeri in the competition back in 1952.
85' RONALDO GOES CLOSE! The Juve forward attempts an audacious bicycle kick near the six-yard box after connecting with Alex Sandro’s pinpoint cross but his acrobatic effort sails harmlessly over Dragowski’s goal! It wouldn’t have mattered anyway, as he was flagged offside seconds before the chance.
F. Ceccherini
G. Pezzella
83' Skipper Pezzella walks off the pitch to be replaced by Ceccherini as Montella makes his second substitution of this match with seven minutes of normal time to play.
R. Bentancur
Yellow Card
82' Milenkovic heads away another Juve long ball and the hosts look to break only for Bentancur to bring down Castrovilli in midfield. The Bianconeri substitute earns himself a yellow in the process, and the visitors’ third of the match.
79' Fiorentina’s relentless pressing is still causing mild havoc to Szczesny and his delivery. It surely is a matter of time before one of the Juve keeper’s passes gets intercepted in a dangerous position for the Old Lady.
G. Castrovilli
Yellow Card
77' Castrovilli brings down Ronaldo as Juve look to counter, earning himself a yellow card and Fiorentina’s third of the match so far.
76' THE HOSTS SQUANDER ANOTHER CHANCE! Pulgar finds Milenkovic with a great delivery, only for the Serbia centre-back to head the ball straight at Szczesny!
75' Alex Sandro makes a vital interception, clearing away Caceres’ lofted ball towards the box for another home corner!
74' Pulgar prepares to take another Fiorentina corner, but Khedira is able to head the delivery away for a home throw-in.
72' Bernardeschi goes down in the Viola penalty area after a soft challenge by Dalbert, but referee Irrati isn’t budging. Aside from a couple of half-chances, Juve’s performance during this second half leaves a lot to be desired. Goal kick to Fiorentina.
70' Prior to this fixture, the influential Castrovilli had completed the most dribbles in the Serie A 2019/20 so far with 10. He has been running the show for the Viola from the first whistle.
K. Boateng
F. Ribéry
69' Ribery looks to be in some discomfort after getting clipped during another Fiorentina attack, and he comes off as a precautionary measure to the adulation of the Viola faithful to be replaced by Boateng.
66' CLOSE FROM CHIESA! The Viola forward uses his nimble feet to jink past a couple of Bianconeri challenges after receiving a smart pass from the impressive Castrovilli, and his effort sails just over Szczesny’s goal! Fiorentina have been knocking on the door all game, a goal surely has to come soon?
64' Ronaldo gets his first shot on goal following a quick Juve breakaway and a Cuadrado cut-back, but his weak effort is easily collected by Dragowski who has seen little action between the Viola sticks.
J. Cuadrado
62' Danilo is one of the players being looked at by his club’s medics, and the right-back trudges off the pitch to be replaced by Cuadrado in Sarri’s final throw of the dice. Irrati restarts play following the substitution.
60' Referee Irrati calls for another cooling break, affording both sides’ physios the chance to tend to their players.
59' The Viola win another corner after Ribery wins the ball from Ronaldo near the centre circle, but the delivery is headed away. Juve do concede the throw-in, and it’s the hosts who are in the ascendancy once again.
58' Another mazy run by Castrovilli ends with a rough midfield challenge, but Fiorentina are still able to win back possession and another corner beckons for them after another forward venture.
57' And just like that, Fiorentina press forward once again and win a corner in the process. The set-piece comes to nothing though, and Juve get the goal kick.
55' The Bianconeri are now camped inside the Fiorentina half trying to find chinks in the Viola armour, but the hosts’ solidity remains.
53' SZCZESNY SAVES JUVE YET AGAIN! More great forward play from the hosts sees Danilo chest down a cross-field pass only for his powerful effort to be beaten away! Badelj tries to fashion a chance from outside the area, but his shot goes well over Szczesny’s goal!
52' The home side are constantly putting pressure on Szczesny, forcing the Juve keeper to make a couple of awkward passes sideways in reaction to the Viola front three’s pressing.
50' Ronaldo, who’s made very little impact in the match up to this point, drives forward and cuts the ball back only for Pezzella to make a vital clearance away from danger.
49' Ribery brings the ball forward as the home crowd wait in anticipation, only for the winger’s pass towards Chiesa to get intercepted and cleared. Juve regain possession.
M. de Ligt
Yellow Card
46' De Ligt takes down Ribery as the latter embarked on another one of his runs, and the Juve centre-back draws out the first booking of the half, equalling the card count between the two sides with two yellows apiece.
46' No changes to either side at the interval as both sides look to strike first after a first half in which Fiorentina had the better of their more illustrious opposition.
46' Juve get play restarted as the second half gets underway!
It comes as no surprise then that Sarri will want to see a much-improved display in the second half, but he will only have one more shot at making a change from the bench having had to replace Costa and Pjanic before the break. The Viola though, as resolute and lively as they’ve been, know to write Ronaldo and Higuain off at their own peril, and must maintain their performance levels to potentially cause an upset at the Artemio Franchi. A fascinating second half awaits.
Despite their awful form and their status as huge underdogs heading into this match, the home crowd and the under-pressure Montella will be very pleased at the hosts’ efforts during that first half. Fiorentina have had the more clear-cut chances, and Chiesa and company have threatened the Juve backline throughout with their quickness and incisive passing. In complete contrast, the visitors have yet to settle into the match and stamp their authority on proceedings, having failed to truly provide any meaningful offense against a resolute Viola backline who have even held firm against an in-form Ronaldo.
45' + 2' Just like his centre-back partners, Milenkovic stands tall as he prevents another Juve attack, intercepting a pass heading towards the ever-dangerous Ronaldo.
45' There will be three minutes of added time to be played.
R. Bentancur
M. Pjanić
44' Juve make their second substitution just before the break, as Pjanic trudges off with a suspected knock to be replaced by Uruguay midfielder Bentancur.
41' GREAT SAVE BY SZCZESNY! The Juve keeper makes a point-blank stop at his near-post after Dalbert is able to ghost inside the Bianconeri penalty area and power a header goalwards! The Viola are finding their groove just before the interval!
40' Ribery rolls back the years as he jinks past a couple of midfield challenges before finding Dalbert with a cross-field pass only for the wing-back to fluff his lines. The hosts win a throw-in though as they seek to end their first-half on a strong note.
38' The hosts, who’ve had the better of the opening half, are now content to play the ball around the back as half-time looms.
F. Chiesa
Yellow Card
36' Chiesa, who has had an eventful first half so far as the heart of the Viola’s attacking play and as De Ligt’s main target throughout the match, receives his side’s second booking for bringing down the Netherlands centre-back in the hunt for the ball.
35' Chiesa tests Szczesny once more, but his low grass-cutter from distance lacked enough power to force a key save.
33' Chiesa runs into De Ligt again, the latter barging the Viola forward off the ball with such force that it sent him tumbling. The home faithful make their feelings well known following that challenge.
31' FIORENTINA SHOULD’VE DONE BETTER THERE! Ribery’s short pass finds Castrovilli to his left, and the latter swings in a low cross that evades everyone bar Chiesa who fails to properly connect with the ball, the chance going harmlessly wide of Szczesny’s goal!
29' Bonucci plays one of his trademark long passes forward in search of Higuain only for the ball to sail over his teammate’s head and comfortably into the hands of Dragowski.
27' Irrati restarts play, and Sczcesny almost immediately sends a wayward clearance out for a Fiorentina throw-in. The hosts waste the opportunity though, and Juve regain possession.
25' It’s 28°C in Florence right now, which forces referee Irrati to call for a cooling break midway through the first half.
24' Juventus are winless in their last three games away from home in Serie A following an international break, having drawn twice and lost once.
22' Khedira blazes a first-time volley high over Dragowski’s goal. The crowd sarcastically cheer the midfielder’s speculative effort.
20' Dragowski has to beat the ball away following Matuidi’s powerful drive, and the Viola regroup. The match has certainly livened up these past few minutes, with both sides having attacking opportunities in the final third.
18' Ribery tests Szczesny with a low drive near the edge of the box following another Viola breakaway, but the Juve keeper does well to hold on to it.
16' Juventus are now living dangerously in their own box, as a pass back to Szczesny nearly goes the way of the onrushing Ribery only for the Juve goalkeeper to concede the corner!
15' ALMOST A GIFT FROM SZCZESNY THERE! The Poland number one’s clearance deflects off of the back of Chiesa’s right foot and the ball goes well over the bar from no more than five yards off! Massive let-off for the champions!
M. Pjanić
Yellow Card
14' Pjanic clips Ribery as the latter ventured forward down the wing, and the Viola now have an opportunity to cause some chaos in the visitors’ penalty area. The Juve midfielder gets booked for his troubles.
11' Ronaldo stands menacingly over the ball as he prepares to rifle it goalward, only for his attempt to hit the wall. He gets a second strike at the ball only for a Fiorentina defender to block it and clear the danger away.
M. Cáceres
Yellow Card
10' Juve zip forward with real intent only for Dalbert to snuff out a Bianconeri attack. The visitors win a throw-in before Caceres brings down Bernardeschi following an aerial challenge, receiving the game’s first booking.
F. Bernardeschi
Douglas Costa
8' The home faithful boo Costa once more as he limps off the pitch to be replaced by Bernardeschi, having sustained a knock while dribbling past a Viola challenge.
6' The Artemio Franchi is alive with the sound of jeers following De Ligt’s foul on Chiesa. Pulgar's set-piece is good only for Milenkovic to head wide of the target. Goal kick to the Bianconeri. 
5' Excellent work by Castrovilli there, who wins the ball in midfield and evades several Juve challenges before playing it wide to start a Viola attack.
4' Matuidi plays the ball to his right, finding Danilo who then attempts to release Ronaldo only for the Portugal talisman’s cut-back to drag well wide of Higuain. The hosts then go on the offensive only for play to tamely end at the hands of Szczesny.
2' Khedira and Ribery battle for the ball near the touchline, only for it to play into the feet of Fiorentina’s defence who then concede a throw-in to Juve.
1' The hosts are out in their iconic colours of all-purple, while the visitors are decked in white shirts and red shorts, a far cry from their traditional black-and-white.
1' Referee Massimiliano Irrati blows his whistle, and Fiorentina get us underway at the Artemio Franchi!
The players are out and kick-off is drawing near.
Ribery has never lost against Juventus, with three wins and two draws, all coming in the Champions League. In fact, the Bianconeri are the side against whom he has played the most games in the competition without suffering a single defeat despite never scoring against them in those matches.
Despite their injury concerns, Sarri makes only one change to the starting XI that eked out a stoppage-time victory against Napoli before the international break. Matteo De Sciglio’s knock gives Danilo a chance to impress at right-back, while Ramsey is named amongst the substitutes as he looks to regain full fitness for his new side. Finally, Higuain leads the line once again, flanked by Costa and the in-form Ronaldo.
Montella makes three changes from the side who lost at Genoa two weeks ago, welcoming Dalbert back to the starting XI after coming off the bench in that 2-1 defeat. His inclusion as a left wing-back enables the Viola to shift their formation to a 3-5-2 with Ranieri making way at the back for Caceres. The big news, however, is Ribery’s first competitive start for the Viola, with the ex-Bayern Munich man joining Chiesa up front as Boateng and Italy U21 starlet Sottil are benched.
SUBSTITUTES: Juan Cuadrado, Aaron Ramsey, Rodrigo Bentancur, Carlo Pinsoglio, Paulo Dybala, Emre Can, Daniele Rugani, Merih Demiral, Adrien Rabiot, Federico Bernardeschi, Gianluigi Buffon.
JUVENTUS XI (4-3-3):  Wojciech Szczesny; Danilo, Leonardo Bonucci (c), Matthijs de Ligt, Alex Sandro; Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic, Blaise Matuidi; Douglas Costa, Gonzalo Higuain, Cristiano Ronaldo.
SUBSTITUTES: Luca Ranieri, Riccardo Sottil, Tofol Montiel, Dusan Vlahovic, Rachid Ghezzal, Pietro Terracciano, Sebastian Cristoforo, Federico Ceccherini, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Szymon Zurkowski, Aleksa Terzic, Lorenzo Venuti.
FIORENTINA XI (3-5-2): Bartlomiej Dragowski; Martin Caceres, Nikola Milenkovic, German Pezzella (c); Pol Lirola, Erick Pulgar, Gaetano Castrovilli, Milan Badelj, Dalbert; Federico Chiesa, Franck Ribery.
And without further ado, let’s take a look at how both sides line up, starting with the hosts.
Juventus have continued where they left off from last season as one of three teams to gain maximum points from the opening two games to kick-start their title defence. It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the Bianconeri though, a narrow 1-0 win at Parma preceding a 4-3 thriller against Napoli which required an injury-time own goal by Kalidou Koulibaly to seal the game for the Old Lady. Maurizio Sarri will have to cope with several injuries, particularly at the back, but his squad’s depth is such that their status as heavy favourites against their struggling hosts remains unwavered.
Following a 4-3 home defeat to Napoli in their season opener and a demoralising 2-1 loss at Genoa prior to the international break, Fiorentina have now endured 16 consecutive league matches without a win since February. Head coach Vincenzo Montella’s return to the Viola hasn’t gone the way he has planned so far, and while most remain confident that their fortunes will soon turn around, it’s likely that their dreadful run will continue against their rampant visitors.
Hello, and welcome to our LIVE coverage of this Serie A match as Fiorentina host champions Juventus at the Artemio Franchi!