By Eskender Tamrat
When: 2:45PM EST, Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
Where: Stadio Artemio Franchi, Florence, Italy
Betting Line: OFF
TV Coverage: beIN Sports, fuboTV
Inter Milan (17-5-10) and ACF Fiorentina (14-10-8) will go head-to-head in Saturday's late Serie A fixture, as both sides aiming to push for the Europa League places. Inter failed to protect their two-goal lead in the Milan derby, but Fiorentina's shocking home defeat against Empoli F.C. (6-8-18) extend the gap between the teams to four points.
But the top six finish is where both sides target in the chase for European football next season. The teams were further behind when they met in the end of November. Heading to the extra-time, Inter were protecting a 3-2 lead, but unlike the heartbreaking ending against A.C. Milan (17-7-8) in the previous round, Mauro Icardi scored his second of the night to wrap up the three points.
Fiorentina's top scorer Nikola Kalinic will miss the fixture after seeing red in the closing stages against Empoli.
The San Siro derby served as a glimpse into the future. It was the first meeting of the two tradition-laden Milan clubs after we can finally say both owned by Chinese commerce giants following the Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux's acquisition of A.C. Milan on Thursday. And, unsurprisingly, the game was scheduled for a prime time slot in China.
The game itself didn't disappoint a bit. Inter cruised to a two-goal lead at half-time courtesy of goals from Antonio Candreva and skipper Icardi. They defended the margin until seven minutes left from the normal time – but after seven minutes played in injury-time – A.C. Milan leveled the score in the last kick of the match.
The team who last lost at A.C. Milan in February succumbed to a home defeat against struggling Empoli. The fact that F.C. Crotone (5-6-21) showing signs of improvement drives the visitors to became the first team to beat Fiorentina at Stadio Artemio Franchi this season. Paulo Sousa's side could still revive their hopes of finishing in European places, however, as none of the four teams ahead of them collect three points in the round.
After the crunching game against Inter, they will face tricky trips – keeping in mind the Empoli reverse – at US Città di Palermo (3-7-22) and U.S. Sassuolo Calcio (10-5-17) before fixtures against top four sides S.S. Lazio (18-7-7) and S.S.C. Napoli (21-7-4). They will end the season with a home game against cellar-dwellers Delfino Pescara 1936 (2-8-22).
1. Before losing in the reverse fixture, Fiorentina did the double over Inter in the previous two seasons.
2. Based on stats from Squawka, Fiorentina (13) are leading Serie A in the goals scored from outside area.
3. After netting his 21st league goal of the season in Derby della Madonnina, his first in four matches, Icardi is now only one goal short of reaching his personal best tally.
Both teams will play for a similar objective – closing on A.C. Milan in the race for a place in the third qualification round of Europa League. A draw would further drag both sides behind from the top six, and you would reckon such result only if there would be a one-goal margin between them in the final minutes. I will expect Fiorentina, even without their prolific striker Kalinic, to revive their slim chances with a win at their fortress, Florence.
Fiorentina 2, Inter 0
|Juan Pablo Carrizo|
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| Internazionale |
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