Fiorentina beat Belenenses 1-0 at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday night in the Europa League, a win that sends the Viola into the round of 32 in the new year.
A 67th minute goal by Khouma Babacar was enough for the Tuscans to claim victory. The victory means the Viola finished second in Europa League Group I behind Basel.
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Luigi Sepe – 6 – Reflex
Quiet night for the Viola’s second choice goalkeeper. Made a fine reflex save from a deflected cross which rebounded off Astori just after half-time.
Nenad Tomovic – 6 – Comfortable
Rarely tested by the sub-standard Belenenses forwards and enjoyed one of his easier nights in a Viola shirt.
Davide Astori – 5.5 – Steady
Like his partner Tomovic in the Viola’s three-man defence, the on-loan defender had very little to deal with apart from that moment he nearly put the ball into his own net.
Marcos Alonso – 6.5 – Attack
Played on the left of the three-man defence and got forward on a few occasions. Unlucky not to get on the scoresheet on 55 minutes as his header from a corner hit the crossbar.
Gilberto – 5.5 – Faded
Looked good early on with some good runs down the right hand side and put a good cross in on 25 minutes which nearly resulted in a goal. Replaced on 55 minutes by Bernardeschi.
Borja Valero – 6.5 – Silky
The Spaniard was his usual classy self in the centre of midfield, picking up passes from the defence and setting up attacks. Neat and tidy throughout before being replaced on the hour to save his legs for the Juventus clash on Sunday.
Milan Badelj – 5.5 – Quiet
Had a shot blocked on 15 minutes which was goal bound and played some neat one-twos with his midfield partners in the first half. Faded out of the game in the second and was replaced by Mario Suarez on 78 minutes.
Joan Verdu – 6.5 – Assist
Put some dangerous crosses in from his set-pieces, with one landing on the head of Alonso who hit the bar. Got the assist for the Babacar goal with a fine through ball after a neat interchange with Rossi.
Manuel Pasqual – 6.5 – Flying
Fine game for the left wing-back with some marauding runs down the left. Came close to scoring on 17 minutes but his powerful shot was saved by Ventura.
Khouma Babacar – 7 – Winner
Looked dangerous all night and linked up well with Rossi in the Viola attack. Hit the bar with a 25th minute header and slotted home the winner on 67 minutes with a low right foot finish into the bottom corner.
Giuseppe Rossi – 6.5 – Sharp
The Italy International played the full 90 minutes and showed some good touches and movement. Shot just wide on 38 minutes and came close again just before half-time. Booked on 69 minutes for a lunging tackle.
Federico Bernardeschi – 4 – Void
Replaced Gilberto just before the hour and never really imposed himself in the game during his the time on the pitch.
Matias Vecino – 5 – Productive
Slotted into midfield on the hour for Valero but didn’t produce anything of note.
Mario Suarez – N/A