Massimo Gobbi's 92nd minute goal against his former club has seen Parma salvage a point against Fiorentina. It looked like the viola had secured the win after coming from behind to lead in the second half, though a defensive lapse in stoppage time allowed the crociati to sneak in an equalising goal right on the full-time whistle.
Despite their late scramble, Parma impressed in the first half, and its tone was set in the opening ten minutes -- by which time the crociati were already looking to take the game to their lacklustre hosts. They'd already forced Fiorentina keeper Neto into the first save, when ex-viola centre-back Mattia Cassani burst down the right and fired a dangerous shot towards goal.
They gave Fiorentina a couple of further scares before Alberto Aquliani went close for the hosts, acrobatically sending an overhead kick narrowly wide. The crociati's initial threat did eventually subside and the viola began to look more comfortable, and should've been ahead through Giuseppe Rossi. He latched onto a Facundo Roncaglia cross in the area, though his red-hot form deserted him against his former club and he nodded the free header wide.
It really wasn't Rossi's night, and five minutes later he limped off the pitch with an injury. Having only just returned from a huge injury layoff -- his appearance against Siena in May was incredibly his first since October 2011 -- hopefully it was just a precautionary measure. With Rossi so crucial for Fiorentina this season, as well as staking a strong claim for a return to the Italian national team, it'll be terrible news if he's forced onto the sidelines again.
Rossi's misfortune combined with a big slice of good luck for the visitors in stoppage time at the end of the first half, and Fiorentina's evening went completely pear shaped. Parma midfielder Walter Gargano's effort from the edge of the area in the 46th minute took a big deflection off Gonzalo Rodríguez and over a helpless Neto for 1-0. After the crociati's impressive first half it wasn't massively surprising, though the manner of the goal and the palpable concern for Rossi meant the Artemio Franchi was deadly silent as the halftime whistle blew.
However, Fiorentina came out looking reinvigorated after the restart, and looked to seize control of the match. They dominated territory and possession, and Parma were forced so far back Antonio Mirante was practically suffocated by his own defence. Just past the hour a mazy run from defender Marcos Alonso almost finally saw the scores levelled, though his effort from a tight angle was just about palmed away by the crociati keeper.
Eventually Fiorentina's pressure did tell, though it took a set piece before they finally managed to breach the determined Parma defence. Borja Valero's cross was met in the area by Rodríguez, who atoned for his complicity in the game's first goal with a powerful header for 1-1. The viola unsurprisingly were fired up, immediately looking for a second. Coach Vincenzo Montella threw Juan Cuadrado into the attack, while Parma boss Roberto Donadoni withdrew the excellent Antonio Cassano for wing-back Aleandro Rosi -- he was content with the point.
Sadly, not even his defensive substitution could stem the Fiorentina flow. With just over ten minutes they went into the lead, after substitute Juan Vargas reacted quickest to a loose ball in the area. He slid the ball against the legs of Parma defender Alessandro Lucarelli and into the back of the net. It seemed that would be the end of the game, with the viola looking to add a third and seal the points.
However, Parma had other ideas. Throwing their entire team forward in the dying moments, a deep cross towards the far post wasn't dealt with by either Neto or his defenders. Wing-back Massimo Gobbi -- an unlikely goalscoring source -- leaped to meet the ball practically on the goal-line, bundling it into the net. It was a dramatic finish to an exciting game, though after such second half domination Fiorentina were left kicking themselves.
Fiorentina starting lineup (4-3-3): Neto; Marcos Alonso, Stefan Savić, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Facundo Roncaglia (Juan Cuadrado 74'); Borja Valero, David Pizarro, Alberto Aquilani; Rafał Wolski (Juan Vargas 46'), Giuseppe Rossi (Ante Rebić 36'), Joaquín.
Goals: Rodríguez 64', Vargas 78'.
Parma starting lineup (3-5-2): Antonio Mirante; Felipe, Alessandro Lucarelli, Mattia Cassani (Stefano Okaka 85'); Massimo Gobbi, Marco Parolo, Marco Marchionni, Walter Gargano, Jonathan Biabiany; Antonio Cassano (Aleandro Rosi 73'), Raffaele Palladino (Nicola Sansone 65').
Goals: Gargano 46', Gobbi 92'.