Fiorentina 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Bernardeschi drive claws back draw for Viola
Fiorentina struggled as they were held to a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League round of 32 first leg, at the Stadio Artemio Franchi on Thursday evening.
A poor display in the first half from Paulo Sousa’s men allowed Nacer Chadli to fire Tottenham into the lead, before Federico Bernardeschi found the net from outside the box to even up the scoreline.
Despite their knack of controlling numerous matches this season, Fiorentina were almost instantly thrown off the ball and onto the back foot as Tottenham’s high pressure game visibly put the home side’s defence in distress.
The home crowd were given an early scare as Dele Alli forced his way into the area, only to then trap the ball under his own feet, whilst Chadli was adjudged to be offside after bringing down the ball, free in front of goal.
Fiorentina looked to grow back into the game and Tottenham were lucky to see Alli stay on the pitch, after the youngster kicked out at Nenad Tomovic, for which he was only shown a yellow card. Federico Bernardeschi then missed a golden chance yards in front of goal, scuffing his shot after being handed the ball on a plate by Josip Ilicic, before Mauro Zarate sent the follow up wide.
Bernardeschi’s failure to bury his chance soon came back to haunt the Viola just minutes before the end of the first half, as Tomovic brought down Ben Davies in front of goal. Chadli calmly stepped up to the resulting penalty and sent Ciprian Tatarusanu the wrong way, putting the visitors a goal up.
It didn’t take long for yet more action to arrive in the second half as Son Heung-min had a goal ruled offside before Bernardeschi made amends for his earlier miss by tying up the scoreline on the hour mark.
The Italian struck the ball from over 30-yards away from goal, with a deflection from Ryan Mason helping the shot to loop over the outstretched arms of Michel Vorm.
The game turned on its heels following the goal and it was Fiorentina who became the dominant side, pushing forward whilst looking a lot sharper and quicker.
Attempts from Matias Vecino, Marcos Alonso and Zarate all came close to propelling the Gigliati into the lead, however, it was not to be, as Tottenham’s defence held tight to stop them from completing the comeback.
The second leg will be played at White Hart Lane on February 25.