Fiorentina marked their return to European competition with a significant 2-1 win over Twente on Thursday evening.
A packed Artemio Franchi lit up the occasion as La Viola hosted FC Twente in the first leg of the Europa Conference League qualifying play-off. Getting the extra push from the overambitious Italian crowd, Fiorentina started the match in a wild manner. A pacey attack down the left, aided by some cunning team-play, saw Cristiano Biraghi putting a perfect cross inside the box. Nicolás González rose the highest to head the ball past Lars Unnerstall. Fiorentina took the lead in the second minute of the game.
It was as if Twente could not cope with the pace of the game, with Vincenzo Italiano’s team running the show with their possession-based football. Owing to that growing pressure, Fiorentina carved out another attack, which saw Riccardo Sottil making a dart down the left before putting in a sensational delivery for Arthur Cabral, who threw his body to make contact with the ball. La Viola extended the lead, with the Brazilian striker being the scorer.
As the game went on, Twente started growing into the affair. In the second half, they looked like a better team collectively. And with that, a lapse of concentration in the Fiorentina defence cost the hosts a goal, with Václav Černý, a second-half substitute for the Dutch side, breaking the offside trap to narrow the deficit. Despite failing to keep a clean sheet, Fiorentina should be satisfied with their inspiring display. Here are the player ratings from Fiorentina’s 2-1 win over Twente.
Fiorentina (4-3-3): Terracciano (6.5); Venuti (6), Milenković (6.5), Nastasić (6.5), Biraghi (7); Amrabat (7), Duncan (7), Maleh (6.5); Nico González (7.5), Sottil (8), Arthur Cabral (7.5).
Substitutes: Ikoné (6), Mandragora (6), Jovic (6), Dodô (N/A), Kouamé (N/A)
Twente (4-2-3-1): Unnerstall (6); Brenet (5), Pröpper (6), Julio Pleguezuelon (5), Smal (6); Sadílek (5.5), Zerrouki (5); Vlap (5.5), Rots (5), Misidjan (5.5); Van Wolfswinkel (5)
Substitutes: Hilgers (6), Černý (7), Tzolis (6), Steijn (N/A)
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder