Chievo vs. Fiorentina: Final score 1-2; Viola fail to excite, win anyway

Claudio Villa

Fiorentina didn't look much like a side prepared to challenge for a Champions League slot, but they still got the job done -- and pushed the Flying Donkeys to the bottom of the table at the same time.

It wasn't the most inspired performance from the viola, but in the end, two goals from Juan Cuadrado were enough to overcome Chievo's early lead. Fiorentina are now in fifth, just four points behind Napoli, who they face on Wednesday. As for the Flying Donkeys, well, they are now dead last after Sassuolo drew with Catania.

The first half was rather dull, to be frank. Fiorentina looked much as they did in the first half against Juventus. It was Chievo that got things started, with the visitors forced to block a shot from Alberto Paloschi, and Ivan Radovanovic going wide just seconds later.

Despite the early pressure, Fiorentina got right back in the game, maintaining possession and looking in control. That's why it was such a surprise when it was Chievo that scored the first goal. Bostjan Cesar, totally unmarked in the box, took advantage of a free header to put the hosts ahead before fifteen minutes had passed.

It was clear that the viola were a bit too focused on possession and build up, and less focused on defense and, say, scoring. Cyril Théréau, too, was given a free header inside the area, but this time, Fiorentina were rescued when the ball flew over the goal.

The half continued, and Fiorentina continued to look toothless. In fact, the most entertaining moment of the first half was when Gonzalo Rodríguez tried to run away from a yellow card and found himself tackled by two Flying Donkeys. That is, until Juan Cuadrado equalized just before the whistle. Giuseppe Rossi sent his low ball crossfield to where the Colombian was racing up the left. Cuadrado faced off against Marcelo Estigarribia, sent him the wrong way, dragged the ball back while Estigarribia fell down, and sent his low shot to the far post.

Cuadrado's second goal did not invite quite so much joy. Again the goal was set up by Rossi, who took advantage of a poor clearance from Boukary Dramé. Cuadrado got on the end of the quick pass and nicked it into the bottom corner. Unfortunately as he did so, the attacker crumpled to the ground, clutching his leg. Good news for Viola fans, however: despite quite some time spent lying on the pitch, Cuadrado was eventually able to continue. Whether he'll be available for the Napoli match midweek is another story.

Chievo Verona: Puggioni; Estigarribia (Sestu 70), Frey, Claiton, Cesar,  Dramé, Bentivoglio (Pellissier 78), Radovanovic, Hetemaj, Paloschi, Théréau

Fiorentina: Neto; Tomovic, Rodríguez, Savic, Pasqual; Aquilani (Juan Vargas 78), Pizarro, Borja Valero; Joaquín (Ryder 59), Rossi (Vecino 85), Cuadrado

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