Fiorentina spoiled the party at Stadio Artemio Franchi this evening as AC Milan missed the chance to go top of Serie A after they lost 4-3 agianst the Viola, with Ricardo Saponara’s stunning strike the pick of the goals.
Despite their calmness in possession, Milan found themselves 1-0 down after just 14 minutes. Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tătăruşanu made a catastrophic error after dropping the ball following a corner, and Alfred Duncan tapped in from close range.
Milan once again were reeling, but this time through brilliance, as Fiorentina doubled their lead just before half time, as Ricardo Saponara curled a delightful effort into the top corner, which sent the stands wild.
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Fiorentina talisman Dusan Vlahovic showed his quality after 60 minutes as the Viola further extended their lead in the most clinical fashion. A deft touch to take the ball away from the feet of Tatarusanu was followed by a sublime finish into the far corner from an acute angle.
However, a quick-fire brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic - on 62 and 67 minutes - left the match finely poised with 20 or so minutes to go.
Vlahovic would double his tally for the evening on 80 minutes when he was the beneficiary of some more catastrophic defending, this time from Theo Hernandez. Nicolas Gonzalez nicked the ball from the France defender on the edge of the box before setting up the Serbian forward, who made no mistake from close range.
That effort put the game beyond Milan but insult was added to injury for Ibrahimovic when he was denied a hat-trick when his last-minute header clattered the post, hit Lorenzo Venuti and crossed the line.

TALKING POINT - POOR PERFORMANCE AT A POOR TIME FOR MILAN

Prior to the game, the talk was about how the Rossoneri could create a three-point gap to Napoli at the top of Serie A. Unfortunately, they could not capitalise on that opportunity, and too many of the starting XI did not turn up when it mattered most.
Despite the second-half goals that were scored, Milan were shocking in defence at times, and were definitely feeling the effect of the missing pair of Mike Maignan and Fikayo Tomori for this game. Two catastrophic errors leading to goals in the defensive phase sum this up. First Tătăruşanu, then Hernandez for Fiorentina to wrap up the three points. Could this result have a big effect on whether Milan can see out another title challenge this term? We have to wait and see, but for now it demonstrates what a little bit of pressure on a side can do to performances on the pitch.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH - DUSAN VLAHOVIC

Fiorentina’s top scorer this season was a thorn in Milan’s side from the outset. The Serbian grabbed a stunning brace, also chipping in with an assist. Both finishes from the 21-year-old were full of quality, especially the first. The touch to take the ball away from Tătăruşanu and the finish from the acute angle was exquisite. The Viola have a real player on their hands that they may struggle to keep beyond this season.

PLAYER RATINGS

Fiorentina: Terracciano 7, Biraghi 6, Julio 6, Venuti 5, Odriozola 7, Duncan 8, Torreira 6, Bonaventura 5, Saponara 8, Vlahovic 9, Callejon 6, Maleh N/A, Castrovilli 5, Gonzalez 7.
Milan: Tatarusanu 4, Hernandez 6, Gabbia 6, Kjaer 7, Kalulu 6, Tonali 7, Kessie 6, Diaz 6, Saelemaekers 5, Leao 7, Ibrahimovic 8, Giroud 6, Messias 6, Florenzi 5, Krunic N/A, Bennacer N/A.

KEY MOMENTS

4’ - GOAL DISALLOWED! Ibrahimovic threaded through brilliantly and slots home calmly but the flag is up! Almost perfect start for Milan comes to nothing. After a VAR check, the decision stands.
14’ - GOALLLLL! Alfred Duncan gives Viola the lead in crazy circumstances! A horrific mistake by Tatarusanu from the corner as the Romanian stopper drops the ball and the defence cannot clear in time before Duncan slots home!
46’ - GOALLLLLL! FIORENTINA DOUBLE THEIR LEAD! Ricardo Saponara produces a moment of magic that sends the stadium wild! The winger hits a curling effort with finesse into the top right hand corner from just inside the box beyond the gloves of Tatarusanu! Milan find themselves in all sorts of trouble now. What a finish!
64’ - PENALTY SHOUT! Leao goes down in the box after what appears to be a clip on his heels. Appeals are made to the referee but after a quick VAR check, the man in the middle says play on. A potentially controversial call that!
85’ - GOALLLLL!!!!! Surely that seals it! Vlahovic has his second of the game! In what is another catastrophic mistake, Theo Hernandez is caught in possession on the edge of his box, with the ball being nicked off his feet by Nicolas Gonzalez, who puts in the Serbian to finish well past the Milan goalkeeper into the bottom corner.

KEY STATS

  • Dusan Vlahovic has equalled the record for the player with the most Serie A goals scored for Fiorentina in a single calendar year (27).
  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has become the oldest player to score a brace in a Serie A match at 40 years of age.
  • Fiorentina are the first side to defeat AC Milan in Serie A since Lazio on the 26th April.
  • Riccardo Saponara has now scored four Serie A goals against Milan.
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