Fiorentina vs. Udinese: Final score 2-1; an improved Juan Cuadrado means an improved Viola

Gabriele Maltinti

Udinese didn't even show up until the last few minutes of the game, while Fiorentina gave their best performance in two months to take all three points.

After the scoreless draw with Sampdoria, Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella decided to mix it up a little, leaving Joaquin and Alessandro Matri on the bench and giving Josip Iličić and Ryder Matos a start. It proved to be a smart move, as two were among the best performers of the game. But Juan Cuadrado stole the show, scoring a goal, winning a penalty and generally driving the Udinese defense crazy.

Fiorentina started brightly, pressing Udinese high up the pitch. Despite the home team playing with a high defensive line, the zebrette failed to create any danger on the counter, unable to slip into space behind the Fiorentina defenders. It was all viola in the first half, culminating in a Cuadrado goal from 20 meters. The shot deflected off Danilo, landing in the back of the net.

Udinese had their first real chance at the start of the second half, when the hosts forgot they had a match to play. However, after a great run up the right flank from Silvan Widmer, Bruno Fernandes was unable to get his shot on target.

The viola then decided to let the visitors have more of the possession, using Udinese's main weapon, quick breaks, against them. In the 71st minute, Matos sent the ball in to Cuadrado who stormed into the box, before being tripped from behind by Danilo. Replays showed that the penalty was rather soft, but Fiorentina certainly weren't complaining. Gonzalo Rodríguez stepped to the spot, sending his shot left while Simone Scuffet went to the right.
It seemed as though Fiorentina were cruising to a win and a clean sheet, especially considering Udinese had done almost nothing for eighty minutes. Then Bruno Fernandes sent a cross in from the right. Rather than reaching his teammates, the ball (possibly taking a deflection on its way) sailed past a surprised Neto and into the back of the net.

The goal livened up the hosts. Just two minutes later, Cuadrado got on the end of a low cross from Massimo Ambrosini, but his powerful shot hit the crossbar. Only two minutes later, Cuadrado's again hit the crossbar after Massimo Ambrosini's low cross. Udinese finally decided to join the match by going on the attack in stoppage time. They managed a few dangerous corner kicks, but couldn't find a way to another goal -- or a way to get closer to the magical 40-point mark.

Fiorentina: Neto, Tomović, Diakitè, Rodriguez, Pasqual, Aquilani, Pizarro (Anderson 90'), Ambrosini, Cuadrado, Matos (Matri 78'), Iličić (Wolski 75')

Goals: Cuadrado 25', Rodriguez 72'

Udinese: Scuffet, Allan, Danilo, Bubnjić (Lazzari 58'), Badu (Lopez 85'), Muriel, Wiedmer, Fernandes (Yebda 90'), Gabriel Silva, Pereyra, Heurtaux

Goals: Fernandes 82'

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