Fiorentina 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais: Vargas' Viola Qualify At Liverpool's Expense

A dream come true for the violet boys...

Fiorentina edged past Lyon in the Champions League to join their French visitors in the knock-out stages and also eliminate Liverpool in the process.

In a cagey encounter coloured by nerves, the hosts did just enough to shade the match, the only goal of the game coming courtesy of a spot-kick from Juan Manuel Vargas midway through the first half.

Fiorentina started with all due intent to secure their passage.

Some excellent play from Mario Santana saw him hit the post before Alberto Gilardino had the rebound deflected from a corner. From this set piece the confident Viola then hit the other side of the woodwork, Gilardino's header beating Lloris but not the frame of goal.

Still, Lyon came back and enjoyed the best of it, until against the run of play the Viola scored. 27 minutes in, Fiorentina took the lead from the penalty spot, Juan Vargas tucking the ball away with aplomb.

But this does not do justice to the build-up. Marchionni got on the end of a tremendous through ball from Z and kept it in with a wonderful touch, before being brought down from behind by Aly Cissokho.

From there Les Gones once again enjoyed the bulk of midfield possession as the foul count racked up, but could not truly test Sebastien Frey as the interval came.

After the break Bafe Gomis and Miralem Pjanic began to combine to good effect, while the disappointing Michel Bastos struggled to make the most of the possession afforded him by an increasingly nervy Fiorentina side.

That's not to say that the hosts didn't have their chances. Aly Cissokho gained revenge on Marchionni with a game-saving tackle twenty-five minutes from time, with the attack-minded ace well onside and the Frenchman compelled to loop around with an excellent challenge.

Neither he nor the rest of the OL defence could prevent what should have been the second goal, though, Ricardo Montolivo's superb, high through ball for De Silvestri seeing Gilardino put on goal only to slice his shot wide.

Lyon dominated the final fifteen minutes, though, with Gomis threatening and then, right at the death, a poor free-kick bobbling to Jean Il Makoun for a snapshot that Frey parried away beautifully.

That save ensured that Fiorentina pass to the Round of 16 for the first time since tournament reconstruction. Liverpool are out, while Lyon are already through.

Steve Michaels,