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Fiorentina File: Sporting Braga 0 Fiorentina 4 (Europa Conference League)

I cannot imagine that Fiorentina’s play-off first leg in the most junior of European competitions – the Europa Conference League – attracted much interest outside Florence.

West Ham, Lazio and Nice are still in the competition so the draw could make for some interesting encounters. Sporting Braga had an unusual stadium with 2 big stands along the pitch but two open ends of rocks and open ground.

The victory reminded me of an away win at Benfica 23 years ago when Gabriel Batistuta scored twice.

We then beat Arsenal at Wembley but lost to Valencia when a Rui Costa goal was inexplicably disallowed by the referee.

So maybe VAR is not so bad.

Last night Jovic score twice; Sporting Braga had a player red-carded; and Mendonca and Cabral added two more in an emphatic win that must surely mean we go to the round of 16.

Fiorentina’s Europa Conference campaign got off to a poor start, losing to Istanbul.

We then put together five consecutive wins and are the leading scorers in any European competition (22 now).

Jovic is the top scorer.

The Serbian bomber had a costly move to Real Madrid but did not do well there. He has done better with us and – with Jonathan Ikone bought from Lille and Cabral from Basel – we have a potent forward line and Vlahavic has been replaced.

We came up against Vlahavic, now in Juventus colours, last Saturday. VAR once again came in for criticism when it cancelled our late equaliser.

Not only has VAR produced some strange decisions – in this case a marginal offside -it also results in celebrating a goal only to then wait and find it disallowed.

Vlahavic scored the Juve goal but did not celebrate it out of respect to his former club. Juve also had another Viola old boy Federico Chiesa.

The sale of our best youngsters to Juventus is not a popular move!

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About Stefano Ursolini

The son of a leading Florentine art dealer, Stefano initially worked in the Uffizi Gallery. He went into journalism and soon became a popular stringer writing on Tuscan wines, art and football. Stefano lives with his partner Umberto in the Santa Croce quarter of Florence. A dedicated supporter of AC Fiorentina his elegant articles on the Viola as well as the Serie A have earned him an appreciative global audience. More Posts