Viola Beat Blues

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 7, 2015 12:46

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Viola Beat Blues

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (August 5th 2015)

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Sousa Wins Battle of Portuguese

Newly installed Fiorentina coach Paulo Sousa inflicted the second defeat on his compatriot José Mourinho in three days. Former Argentina international defender Gonzalo Rodríguez Prado, captaining the Viola, scored the only goal of a feisty encounter after 34 minutes. Bosnia-Herzegovina international Asmir Begović parried Marcos Alonso Mendozaʼs shot to Rodríguez for a tap-in. A minute into the match Begović denied Copa América winner Matías Fernández Fernández, after the Chilean had been supplied by Alonso Mendoza.

Despite the loss, there were positives. Ruben Loftus-Cheek impressed. Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traoré played the teenager in on the left flank with less than a quarter of an hour played. Loftus-Cheek displayed fine close control to create a chance for himself, but his shot was blocked by Argentinian international Facundo Roncaglia. After 4 minutes the young midfielder headed Óscarʼs free-kick over the bar – he should have done better.

Three minutes later Juan Guillermo Cuadrado Bello passed to Óscar. His shot from 20 yards out was blocked by Gilberto Moraes Júnior. Just over half an hour into the first half Alonso Mendozaʼs effort was blocked by Terry. It rebounded to Matías Vecino Falero. The Uruguayan midfielderʼs fantastic 35 yard effort deserved a goal. Begović was well beaten as Vecino Faleroʼs shot thudded against the crossbar. The visitors deserved their lead at half time.

The Colombian Connection

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 had a disastrous spell at Manchester United and his compatriot Juan Guillermo Cuadarado Bello has failed to deliver to date since his January transfer from tonightʼs opponents Fiorentina. Conspicuous by his absence was the other part of that deal Mohamed Salah – surplus to Mourinhoʼs requirements, but despite winning over club and fans at the Artemio Franchi Stadium, the Egyptian winger refused a permanent move to Florence.

Both Colombians have something to prove. Falcao had an interesting tussle with Fiorentinaʼs skipper Rodríguez. The Argentinian tried to swap sirts after 23 minutes and brought the Colombian down after a neat turn, but Rodríguez had the last laugh, scoring the winner. Within five minutes of the restart the home support yelled “shoot”, but Falcao passed to Cuadrado instead. Cuadradoʼs cross was far too close to on loan keeper Luigi Sepe.

Disrupted Flow

Seven minutes into the second half Roncaglia brought down Cuadrado and was rightly booked – friendly or not. Óscarʼs freekick was headed over by Gary Cahill. The defender had the most chances in the second half, but failed to convert them. Several substitutions by both teams disrupted the flow of the match – the bane of friendlies.

The substitutions just before the hour mark were Cesc Fàbregas Soler for Óscar, Willian for Cuadrado, Loïc Rémy for Falcao and Eden Hazard for Loftus-Cheek. Within a minute Fiorentina responded with four changes of their own. Rodríguez, Nenad Tomović, Gilberto and Fernández were replaced by Ahmed Hegazy, Joaquín Sánchez Rodríguez, Manuel Pasqual and Josip Iličić.

Within ten minutes Iličić came close to doubling the Violaʼs lead, wending into the area, but his shot went just wide. Two minutes later Chelsea responded. Fàbregas and Willian combined to create an opportunity for Rémy, but Pasqual blocked it. With three minutes of normal time remaining Rémy sliced his shot wide – he should have scored.

A spate of bookings marred the final ten minutes. Hegazy was cautioned for fouling Rémy and three minutes into injury time Zouma was rightly booked for a bad foul on Bagudur. A confrontation ensued and referee David Coote also cautioned Matić for dissent and Joaquín for his reaction. Sousa had inflicted a second defeat on Mourinho just before Chelsea begin the defence of their title.

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Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 7, 2015 12:46
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