“Our fans deserve this. It’s not easy to be a Fiorentina fan, you don’t always win.”
It was the best night of Stefano Pioli’s coaching career, and the best night for Fiorentina fans in a while. Thumping Roma 7-1 to knock them out of the Coppa Italia will go down in the history books. Federico Chiesa was the star, who dedicated the win to Davide Astori which gives it an even more epic feeling.
Pioli is right. Fiorentina fans don’t have it easy, and such a victory, despite not meaning in itself any silverware, can be a landmark in the history of the club.
It was a melancholic night too. Chiesa, in Pioli’s words, became a man, and did so scoring his first career hat-trick and then raising his arms to the sky to shout out loud. “It’s for you, Davide!”. Astori was guiding his teammates yet again, and this time helped them to something beyond anyone’s imagination.
It was the perfect night for any Fiorentina fan. Demolishing a rival team like Roma, who aren’t exactly loved in Florence, and less than a year ago were in a Champions League semi-final, and then watching Juventus – their biggest rivals – being knocked out of the Coppa Italia. For a fan, it couldn’t have been any better.
It was Fiorentina’s first truly convincing victory since the tragedy of Astori last March. A win that brings together the fans, the owners, the directors, the coach and the players. No matter what happens from now on, nobody will forget the night in which Fiorentina put seven past Roma. Fiorentina fans in a decade will look back and think, ‘I remember when we destroyed Roma.’
It also shows, in more practical terms, that the club has finally got a signing right. Luis Muriel can be a difference maker at the top level. He has scored four goals in four matches, including being on target against Roma. The perfect partner for Chiesa too. The two can tear down defences if given space.
Space is the key word. Pioli seems to have unlocked the right tactical system for his men. Solid at the back before getting it quickly to Chiesa or Muriel who can run into the space left by the opposing defenders. Against Roma it was Kevin Mirallas who added himself to the midfield – which lacks quality – to be the man serving the strikers. It worked perfectly, and can be used in other games. A sort of modern ‘catenaccio’ if you will – a mix of defensive care, high pressing and quick counter attacks.
Fiorentina could benefit from the new system, try and aim for a better position in Serie A and face Atalanta in the Coppa Italia semi-final with the best possible attitude. La Dea are favourites, but it will be another great encounter. Fiorentina can build on this epic victory and look at a brighter future.
Whether or not a new Fiorentina is born is too early to tell. What is certain is that beating Roma 7-1 will never be forgotten. It was Pioli’s night, it was Chiesa’s night, the fans’ night, and Astori’s night. A memorable game of football, an unforgettable night for Fiorentina fans.