25 April 2021
Alvaro Morata scored a wonderful left-footed effort seconds after coming off the bench at half-time to secure a 1-1 draw for Juventus at Fiorentina on Sunday afternoon.
Dusan Vlahovic had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot midway through the first half, with the Bianconeri only threatening through Aaron Ramsey just before the break. Juve came out fighting in the second half and looked the more likely side to take all three points after Morata’s goal, but Fiorentina dug in to deny Andrea Pirlo’s men.
VLAHOVIC SCORES FROM THE SPOT
Both sides set up with 3-5-2 formations, meaning space was at a premium in the middle and down the flanks. Aaron Ramsey and Juan Cuadrado threatened for Juve after Pirlo’s men pounced on errors from Fiorentina in the opening exchanges, while Franck Ribery and Dusan Vlahovic looked lively down the other end for the home side. The first real chance of the game fell to Nikola Milenkovic, who unleashed a piledriver from just outside the box that forced Wojciech Szczesny to concede a corner. Erick Pulgar followed that up with another long-range effort, this time hitting the post. These chances buoyed the Viola, who surged forward in the hope of making their pressure pay. Minutes later, the ball connected with Adrien Rabiot’s arm in the box, with VAR ruling it to be worthy of a penalty kick. Vlahovic made no mistake from the spot to give Fiorentina a 1-0 lead. Juventus looked to rally, focusing on central areas due to the lack of space out wide: Paulo Dybala and Rodrigo Bentancur managed to burst through the lines just before half time, with Aaron Ramsey eventually sent through on goal, but the Welshman failed to hit the target.
MORATA HITS A STUNNING EQUALISER
Pirlo switched to a 4-4-2 for the second half, replacing Leonardo Bonucci and Dybala with Dejan Kulusevski and Alvaro Morata. It took the Spaniard just 30 seconds and two touches to make his mark on the game: he used his first to control Cuadrado’s through ball and cut inside, while his second was a perfect curling left-footer that nestled in at the far post to level the scores at 1-1.
The goal seemed to open the game up, leaving Juve with more room to manoeuvre. Yet Fiorentina remained a threat, with Pulgar testing Szczesny from the edge of the box. Down the other end, Giorgio Chiellini managed to knock down a Cuadrado free-kick into a dangerous area, but there was nobody waiting for the Bianconeri to convert the chance. Cristiano Ronaldo was twice thwarted, first by Milenkovic and then by the Viola keeper. Pirlo sent on Weston McKennie for Ramsey as Juve continued to go in search of the winner, with Cuadrado providing several crosses on top of his defensive duties against Ribery and Gaetano Castrovilli.
Both teams appeared to tire as the match wore on – and both left themselves open to the counter. Yet Juve seemed to be the brighter side and they nearly had their second goal when Kulusevski’s cross came inches from finding its intended recipient at the back post. The Bianconeri kept pushing, but Fiorentina stood firm and batted back everything Juve threw at them until the final whistle blew.
FIORENTINA 1-1 JUVENTUS
SCORERS: Vlahovic pen. 29, Morata 46.
Dragowski; Milenkovic, Pezzella, Caceres; Venuti (M. Quarta HT), Amrabat, Pulgar, Castrovilli (Eysseric 85), Igor (Biraghi 72); Ribery (Kouame 72); Vlahovic
Subs not used: Terracciano, Malcuit, Barreca, Maxi Olivera, Callejon, Montiel, Rosati
Szczesny; de Ligt, Bonucci (Morata HT), Chiellini; Cuadrado, Ramsey (McKennie 69), Bentancur, Rabiot, Alex Sandro; Dybala (Kulusevski HT), Ronaldo
Subs not used: Buffon, Pinsoglio, Danilo, Frabotta, Arthur, Bernardeschi, Felix Correia
ASSISTANTS: Meli, Alassio
FOURTH OFFICIAL: Ayroldi
VAR: Giacomelli, Ranghetti
YELLOW CARDS: Igor 40, De Ligt 52, Caceres 61, Biraghi 88.