Fiorentina back in serie a
Welcome back Fiorentina!
Sunday 20 June, 2004
Ten-man Fiorentina have returned to Serie A after a very tight play-off victory over Perugia, who slide back down to the second division.
It is a welcome comeback for the Viola, who were relegated in 2002 and declared bankrupt soon after. Businessman Diego Della Valle created a new club called Florentia Viola that started from Serie C2.
They earned promotion and bought back the name AC Fiorentina at auction, but the expansion of Serie B last summer saw them included in the new 24-team division due to “sporting merit.” A sixth-place finish qualified them for this play-off and it is Perugia who go down.
The Stadio Artemio Franchi was a sea of purple as the second leg of this promotion play-off was sold out, with Viola legend Gabriel Batistuta also in the stands.
Perugia needed a victory in order to keep hold of their top flight status and were able to field Fabrizio Ravanelli and Marcelo Zalayeta despite injury worries.
Fiorentina were without star strikers Christian Riganò – who was unable to recover from a thigh strain in time – and Zisis Vryzas, so Enrico Fantini again started upfront after he had scored the winner at the Stadio Curi.
Perugia were most dangerous from Ze Maria’s trademark set-pieces, then the Brazilian took advantage of a William Viali error only for goalkeeper Cejas to recover.
Fiorentina's only real chance of the first half saw Zeljko Kalac palm out an Ariatti cross-shot.
The deadlock was eventually broken in Fiorentina’s favour at the dawn of the second half and just like the first leg it was an Enrico Fantini header. Christian Maggio skipped past both Christian Manfredini and Fabiano until his deep cross found the head of Fantini from six yards.
Perugia needed to score two now in order to avoid sliding into the second division, so Franco Brienza was thrown on to give them more firepower. It proved a crucial substitution, as on 58 minutes Fantini petulantly hacked him down after losing the ball and received his second yellow card.
The Grifoni poured forward and were furious when Viali supposedly held down Fabrizio Ravanelli as another Ze Maria free kick was floated into the box. White Feather claimed he should have had a penalty for a shirt-tug soon after, but his appeals were again waved away.
Englishman Jay Bothroyd came on for the closing stages, but it was substitute Do Prado who gave Perugia hope of an extraordinary comeback with eight minutes left on the clock. The Brazilian midfielder rifled in a long-range strike at the near post to take Cejas by surprise.
With 2-1 victory at the Stadio Franchi, Perugia would have won the play-off on away goals, so the final stages were extremely tense, but Fiorentina held on through four minutes of stoppages to seal their return to the cream of Calcio.
Next year’s 20-team Serie A is now complete, while Cesena and Crotone won their play-offs to enter Serie B, joining League winners Arezzo and Catanzaro.
Last night Venezia won their play-out 2-1 on aggregate to send Bari down to Serie C1.
Fiorentina 1-1 Perugia (2-1 on agg)
Scorers: Fantini 47 (F), Do Prado 82 (P)
Fiorentina: Cejas; Maggio, Delli Carri, Viali, Savini; Ariatti, Scaglia (T Manfredini 51), Piangerelli (Di Livio 89), Fontana, Camorani (Graffiedi 61); Fantini
Perugia: Kalac; Coly, Di Loreto, Fresi (Do Prado 67), Fabiano; Ze Maria, Obodo, C Manfredini (Brienza 49), Di Francesco; Zalayeta, Ravanelli (Bothroyd 74)
Sent off: Fantini 58 (F)
Forza Inter per sempre!!!!
Jose responding after the derby:"We could only have lost by having six people on the park, as even with seven, we would have won. "
New Domain name www.forzainterforums.com
Nice to have that team where it really belongs...Best of luck
Welcome back Viola!!! They really had a chance to win the league back in 97 if Batigol didn't get injured and stupid Emdundo didn't abandon the team to party in the Carnival. Their fate would've changed forever if they won serie A that year.
Great news! as far as im concerned the more Big clubs(i mean well supported clubs) the better!
Originally Posted by Fitzy
This is good news, nice to have them back!