You couldn't have asked for a better advertisement for Serie A than the Monday night match between Fiorentina and Verona. Two goals in six minutes, four goals before 15 had passed. The viola put in a fifth just before the break, just to make things a bit more interesting. Then the hosts managed a two-goal advantage before the hour mark, but 10-man Verona made the final 20 minutes exciting with a third goal of their own. In the end, Fiorentina held on for all three points, pulling them even with Inter Milan in fourth.
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No one could say this match was a lesson in quality goalkeeping, however. The goals began with Borja Valero, wearing the captain's armband in the absence of Manuel Pasqual and clearly being lit up with the responsibility. The Spaniard fired in a low, sharp shot from just outside the area. Although Verona keeper Rafael made a dive for it, he couldn't even come close.
Less than a minute later, while Fiorentina were still partying, Verona had the ball past Neto ... with a bit of assistance from the viola keeper. Neto managed to stop a shot from Juan Iturbe, but rather than getting the ball out of danger, pushed it right back inside the area. Rômulo pounced, slotting the ball into the opposite corner.
But it was less than 10 minutes before Iturbe had his own goal -- and what a spectacular shot! Picking up on a ball from Luca Toni, the youngster took his shot from about 25 yards out. Later reports put the speed of the ball at around 80 miles per hour, so it's hard to blame Neto, although the keeper looked as though he couldn't decide where to position himself as the shot came in.
And again, it was less than a minute before the equalizer came through. It was Borja Valero's second, and again, he made Rafael look a bit silly. The ball took a deflection off Alejandro González, but the Verona keeper let it slip through his fingers as the ball smashed off the bar and came down behind.
Fiorentina went into the break with a lead, thanks to Juan Vargas and, again, Rafael. Matias Vecino, in his first Serie A start, set up the Peruvian, who sent his shot across the face of goal. Rafael's positioning left something to be desired and, although he was able to get a hand to it, couldn't manage to push away the ball.
It seemed unlikely that the rest of the match would be able to live up to the first half, but the teams gave it their very best shot. A disappointing eight minutes with nothing but a save from Neto on a shot from Bosko Janković. But then the Serb decided he wanted to make a save of his own. Attempting to rescue yet another Fiorentina goal, Janković, sliding along the ground, blatantly handled the ball and was rewarded with a straight red. It was Giuseppe Rossi who stepped up to convert, giving the viola their fourth goal.
Fiorentina never like to make it easy on themselves, however. Despite Verona being down to 10 men, in the 72nd minute, they managed to put themselves within one. It was Toni again doing the dirty work against his former club, forcing Neto into a save. Again, the keeper just couldn't quite get the ball away. The young Jorginho was there to take advantage, sending his shot into the bottom corner for his fifth goal of the season.
Fiorentina: Neto; Tomović, Savić, Rodríguez, Vargas; Vecino (Fernández 45'), Ambrosini, Borja Valero; Cuadrado, Rossi, Joaquín
Hellas Verona: Rafael; Cacciatore, González, Maietta, Agostini; Rômulo, Jorginho, Hallfredsson; Janković, Toni, Iturbe